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Lethbridge mayor calls closing down ARCHES 'bizarre'

August 16, 2019

Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman speaks out against motion to defund supervised consumption site, ARCHES

Lethbridge City Councilor Blaine Hyggen introduced a motion this week to limit distribution at the cities supervised consumption site, or to close down the facility in its entirety. He will also be asking City Council on Monday to withhold funding from ARCHES until the UCP government has completed a full review of all supervised consumption sites in Alberta.

Mayor Chris Spearman says he has advocated for both intox and detox services for five years, and is wholeheartedly against closing down ARCHES.  

"The best thing that could happen is that motion get defeated, nine to nothing, and that we stay the coarse and we ask for the services our city definitely needs." 

Spearman is aware of the backlash on social media, as well as complaints from local businesses.

"I do recognize that businesses may be negatively impacted, but there's opportunities to work with the city. ARCHES has their monthly 'Good Neighbour' meetings. A lot of the complainants have never ever attended one (meeting) since ARCHES opened." 

ARCHES calls Lethbridge's Supervised consumption site the busiest in North America, with more than 60,000 visits in the first three months of 2019, according to data from the government of Alberta.