May 19th, 2024

Pop-up OPS operators fined for no permit

By Lethbridge Herald on September 29, 2020.

City senior bylaw enforcement officer Dave Henley, at right, speaks with part of a group from the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society who again set up a tent Monday night at Galt Gardens. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
The City of Lethbridge confirmed it gave the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society a $300 fine Monday evening after the group failed to comply with a request to remove its unpermitted tent from Galt Gardens.
“I asked if they had a permit,” explained the City’s senior bylaw enforcement officer Dave Henley just after issuing the ticket. “They failed to provide the permit. They believed they are exempt from the permit under one of the provisions of the bylaw. They couldn’t provide evidence in fact they are exempt to support that type of claim. And so after a couple of directions asking them to take it down, we identified what their options were: their options were to take down or get a ticket. They chose to keep the tent up, and they received a fine.”
Again, Henley confirmed, the Lethbridge Police Service witnessed no criminal drug activity within or near the tent; so the City was acting under provisions of local bylaws which require permits to set up any kind structure or operation in public areas. This is, admitted Henley, not a perfect solution to the problem.
“We are trying to address an underlying social issue, and trying to apply a bylaw that was never intended to do that,” he explained. “The City isn’t in a position to regulate those health services, and that’s certainly what these people say they want to do: they want to provide a health service. They clearly acknowledged tonight they were not going to do that, but they set up a tent. And they had coffee.”
Henley said the LPS would continue to monitor the situation as he worked with the City Solicitor’s office toward a solution, but their options will remain limited to what is allowed under the Municipal Government Act as long as no criminal activity is taking place at the tent.
“It has clearly been identified (to the Overdose Prevention Society) the City is not in any position to issue permits for any sort of illegal activity,” he stated.
Lethbridge-East MLA Nathan Neudorf issued a statement to The Herald on Tuesday stating he was disturbed by the actions of the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society.
“When ArcheS was closed due to a misuse of provincial funding,” his statement reads in part, “Alberta’s government stepped in to provide a legal, sanctioned overdose prevention site within blocks of the previous location with adequate capacity for the community.
“ The well-being and safety of the citizens of Lethbridge has always been the priority of our government. This illegal site contravenes the Criminal Code of Canada and we expect the City of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Police Service to enforce the law. We would urge you to refer your questions to the mayor for matters that pertain to local law enforcement.”
Neudorf highlighted his government’s recent investments in new addiction treatment beds ($10 million) in the region, additional funding to support greater access to detox at the Foothills Centre ($1.7 million), and its commitment to funding 42 new supportive-housing units in Lethbridge ($11 million) on top of funding an officially-sanctioned, three-booth, fully-staffed overdose prevention ste in the city operated by Alberta Health Services.
Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips also issued a statement on the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society’s attempts to create their own, unsanctioned harm-reduction site in downtown Lethbridge.
“Like the MLA for Lethbridge-East, I support supervised consumption as part of the overall package of health-care supports for people living with addictions,” Phillips’ statement reads in part. “Those health services should be available to all who need them. It is not clear to me how law enforcement will be able to justify arresting people at a pop-up site but not the mobile supervised consumption site installed by the UCP government just a few blocks away.
“This seems to set up a very difficult situation for our city’s police force,” she adds. “Citizens have the right to be free from arbitrary police actions, and the supervised consumption site set up by the UCP government is virtually indistinguishable from this new pop-up site.”
Phillips goes on to state the UCP government must take leadership in funding more programs like local housing, counseling, detox, intox, and replacement therapies to address the needs of the community’s most vulnerable.
— With files from Ian Martens.
Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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The Alberta Government (UCP) 100% supports supervised consumption sites as it clearly shows that harm reduction is evidence based.

The big ol’ ARCHES SCS was closed, but as we can all clearly see they too support harm reduction and supervised consumption of illicit drugs paid for by tax payer money.

Otherwise there wouldn’t be any SCS at all.

Way to go UCP, Nathan Neudorf, Jason Kenney, and Jason Luan for fully supporting harm reduction and the supervised consumption of illicit drugs fully funded with the money from tax payers.

Will Hyggen, Mauro, and Parker get in line with other conservatives and fully support the mobile SCS to prevent crazy pop up tents?

Sure hope so!

This tax money I am shoveling out every paycheque has to be burned somewhere!


The Alberta Government cut funding for the Lethbridge SCS because of the way it was operated. They also took into consideration the loud and clear message the citizens of the city, the taxpayers, that they did not want the SCS in this city after the costly negative impacts to the community. About 150 addicts have cost this city tens of millions of dollars and the disinformation spread by ARCHES by inflating numbers, which should be investigated along with the missing funds, labelled Lethbridge as having the busiest consumption site in the world, which was false because they were reporting over 700 people per day, when actually it was about 150 repeat users in a day!
These same people that are under investigation now refuse to obey our laws and play with the stats!
Can we believe anything coming from the mouths of these people? ARCHES stood before Council and refused to answer specific questions, misled them with inflated stats and now they continue to do what they want against the wishes of the community, the people who live in the areas impacted! Our community has suffered enough and it is time to end this now!!
City Council could pass a bylaw with teeth, immediately to deal with this, but they won’t!
We need true leaders that stand up for the community, the taxpayers who live in this city! Where are they?
Addicts appear to run the city now . . . they appear to run downtown and have free reign! The new police response – – – “there is nothing we can do” . . . Let me ask you this . . . do you really think people are going to inject drugs with uniformed officers standing in front of the tent? Of course they didn’t witness any illegal activity . . . but what is illegal activity? It appears to be acceptable for addicts to inject drugs where ever they want, because they are just users so they are not arrested . . . really? Yes really . . . so what do they consider illegal??
If we sat and openly drank in the park, we would be fined and our alcohol confiscated, but they can inject drugs and police do nothing? Does anyone else see how wrong this is?
This is the new norm for society because we are allowing it to be! We are enabling these people to do more drugs while not offering them any effective treatment. BC has poured billions of taxpayer dollars into the impacts of the injection sites there for the needed rippling effect of needed social services, housing services, policing, and other increased areas with no impact on stopping the growth of fatal overdoses and increased addicts in the last 17 years. Think where they would be if that all went into effective treatment programs instead of the 3 month programs they move people through like processing line.
Safe consumption sites generate more addicts, they slowly kill them, supporting them to use more . . . it is perpetual . . . . never-ending until death . . . I watched many slowly emaciate until they died . . . you don’t hear that from the ARCHES gang though, or them allowing pregnant women to consume drugs or underage kids!
The only way to end this is the shut down these sites and get tough on drugs and let the drug courts do their job!
70% of fatal overdoses in BC and Alberta are where the person resides . . . that is from the BC and Alberta Coroners reports! How do these sites touch this, the biggest factor in the deaths? Effective treatment programs with reduce those numbers dramatically!
It appears though that this sitting Council will not stand up for our citizens who have taken the brunt of this, at a high costs! Millions of taxpayers dollars blown and a community that has been beaten up intenationally and locally with very little support from this sitting Council!
This Council appears to represent the 150 addicts that wreak havoc on our streets, and ignore the business community and citizens that have been raped and pillaged and had their livelihoods taken away by business closures due do the impacts!
The question is why does this Council chose to ignore the pleas of the citizens while allowing this madness? They have the power to pass immediate bylaws with teeth!
One last thing . . . these addicts do not practice social distancing, self isolation or respect the rules of wearing masks while entering public buildings where they use our bathrooms to do drugs, as they have done even with the SCS open! They do not have to obey the laws that are in place to protect us from COVID-19, in their minds! Just one more reason to get effective treatment programs in place and shut down the mills they call safe consumption sites, that slowly kill them, and get them off the streets. I have watched many young prostitutes on the streets slowly die in the viscious merry go round of selling their bodies to pay for their drugs and their supposed ‘boyfriends’, until one day, whether my accident, or intentional, they fatally overdose. That is right, many fatal overdoses are intentional as they believe there is no way out!

Citi Zen

A $300 fine is only a very small part of the cost of doing business, which will instantly be covered by donations from supporters. Not a deterrent at all, more of a joke. I am quite certain that the authorities could find a creative way to stop this clearly illegal activity.
Call in the RCMP, as the locals don’t want to deal with it.


The Alberta Government’s response to this illegal shows they DO NOT support it:
….“ The well-being and safety of the citizens of Lethbridge has always been the priority of our government. This illegal site contravenes the Criminal Code of Canada and we expect the City of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Police Service to enforce the law. “….
Taken from this news article with similar responses in other media.
The AHS and the Alberta Government DO NOT support this illegal tent and it’s operators.
The question is that if the LPS is doing nothing in this case, how much faith can we have in the ARCHES investigation into the missing $1.6 million? Personally, I have lost all faith in this police force and this sitting Council!

Dennis Bremner

Whats the problem with the tent? Lets see, I set up a tent, people with drugs come into my tent, they shoot up. Now, imagine this, a tent with 4 solid walls, people with drugs come into my 4 solid walled “tent” they shoot up. Now tell me what the difference is between a “tent and a drug house”? So a “dealer gets the bright idea” I know, I will set up a tent and tell everyone I am savin lives? The present tent can argue till the cows come home, they are treading on “drughouse” and if the police can not figure that out and if Spearman can’t figure it out, by golly I just may set up my own drughouse, even though my “Seniors” COVID pay has reached an astounding $300 while the addicts claim $2000 CERB! I need some spending money as it seems the $300 doesn’t quite compensate me for my expenses. I may franchise my “drug tent”…any takers?

Last edited 3 years ago by Dennis Bremner