Quinte West’s Planning Advisory Committee was unanimous in rejecting a proposal by Shoppers Drug Mart to have a methadone dispensary located
in its downtown Trenton store.
The national pharmacy chain had applied for an official plan amendment and zoning change to allow the dispensary and Quinte West Planning staff had no problems with the applications and recommended their approval.
However, almost everyone in the group of about 25 people attending the meeting Thursday night were dead set against the plan.
Downtown Trenton retail store owner Barney Goldberg said there was no need for a methadone dispensary in the core, adding that he believed
some shoppers would avoid the downtown because of groups of methadone users gathering together near the Shoppers Drug Mart store and in nearby Fraser Park. Goldberg promised he’d boycott Shoppers if there was a dispensary there, and would tell others to do so as well.
Chair of the Trenton Downtown Business Improvement Association, Angela Wildish echoed Goldberg’s comments, adding that she’d received inquiries from about 40 business owners and managers who worried about the potential negative impacts of a methadone facility.
Methadone is currently dispensed at Rexall and Pharmasave outlets in Trenton.
One woman said that downtown Trenton had improved a lot over the past 20 years, and a methadone dispensary would be “a step backward”.
The Planning Advisory Committee agreed. Councillor Allan DeWitt said there was no demonstrable need for another dispensary and that another one, if needed, would be a great addition to an as yet built Health Services Hub near Trenton Memorial Hospital. DeWitt said he supports small business.
Councillor Fred Kuypers raised his voice, saying “I’ve worked my butt off for 20 years trying to help turn downtown Trenton around and I don’t want it destroyed by methadone! Shoppers Drug Mart is greedy and just going after money”!
Public member of the committee Doug Crews said that as a Trenton Lions Club member he’d volunteered driving a methadone patient to a local dispensary, a man who has since landed in a federal penitentiary. “I wasn’t impressed by the service these people were given. They were treated like animals. A lot of people in the community won’t want to be anywhere near some of these methadone users. I think a dispensary could destroy Shoppers Drug Mart’s business in downtown Trenton”.
Quinte West council will make a final decision on the matter in the near future.