Barrie city Council has decided, once again, to put off the decision to endorse a supervised consumption site at 90 Mulcaster Street.

On Monday night, in a split vote, councillors voted to defer the decision until October 2019. They are asking Barrie city staff to hire an independent consultant to investigate whether or not the site recommended by the Simcoe-Muskoka Opioid Strategy advocacy group is the best location.

Councillors debated the issue in front of a packed gallery, with several residents holding up signs to show their opposition to the site. Many residents have argued the process of choosing a location has been too rushed. Councillor Mike McCann agreed.

“There’s too many experts divided, too many council members divided, too many residents divided, and the only way we’re going to get the divide to stop is by having more questions answered,” said Councillor Mike McCann on Monday night.

He is the one who proposed hiring an outside consultant.  “I do want to help out marginalized people in the city of Barrie, but I need more information,” he said.

Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman urged councillors to make a decision right away, instead of deferring it. “If you are opposed, just say no. Don’t give false hope, don’t kick it down the line. Make a decision.”

But, the decision made was to wait.

This is the second time Council has decided to postpone the decision. Council was originally slated to decide on June 3rd but voted instead to defer the decision until June 24th. At the time councillors asked officials with the Simcoe-Muskoka Opioid Strategy to investigate other more “suitable” locations and to report back. Officials continued to recommend the 90 Mulcaster street location, beside the David Busby Centre.

Now, following Monday night’s vote, the City of Barrie will be tasked with finding and hiring the consultant to re-evaluate the site location. The consultant is then expected to complete the investigation during the summer and councillors will vote again, with the new information, in October.