'Terrible': Controversial idea for Melbourne CBD slammed

·News Reporter
·2-min read

Businesses have revealed their anger over the possibility of a second drug injecting room in Melbourne's CBD.

While Victoria Health Minister Martin Foley told the ABC on Monday Enterprize Park on Flinders Street had been dismissed as a location, other locations had not been ruled out.

Several senior sources told the Herald Sun the controversial project is likely to have its second facility at the south end of the CBD and west of Swanston Street. 

Huyen Pham, the owner of HLU Nail and Beauty Salon on Flinders Street, told Yahoo News Australia there was already trouble with drug users in the area and an injection room would only make the situation worse.

"I really don't think it's a good idea because we already have too many problems in the area," she said.

The area understood to be chosen for Melbourne's second injecting room. Source: Google Earth
The area understood to be chosen for Melbourne's second injecting room. Source: Google Earth

"People already come to my store and cause trouble, I don't need any more. I'm really not happy for the government to bring [a second facility] here."

Melbourne's first injecting facility in North Richmond has proven divisive within the community.

Its proximity to a nearby school has left many concerned over the suitability of its location.

One resident told Yahoo News Australia last year her terrified young son regularly encounters people using drugs near the facility, sharing images of one drug user he thought had died in the street.

Inside North Richmond's controversial facility. Source: AAP
Inside North Richmond's controversial facility. Source: AAP

"It’s ruining our community and it’s dumping all of Victoria’s drug problems on my doorstep," she said.

Ms Pham said multiple businesses had closed down as a result of the opening of the facility in 2018 and feared similar repercussions for her area.

Neighbouring business owner Tony Doherty who runs Doherty's 24-hour gym, also slammed the idea.

"It's a terrible place for it ... I can't think of a worse spot," he said.

Government says second injection facility needed

Labor MP Gabrielle Williams said it was clear a second facility was needed in the centre of the city.

Ben Vasiliou, the chief executive of the Youth Projects charity, agreed but said it would be hard to find somewhere where it would be widely accepted by nearby residents and businesses.

Mr Doherty and Ms Pham's businesses on Flinders Street. Source: Google Maps
Mr Doherty and Ms Pham's businesses on Flinders Street. Source: Google Maps

"No one wants it in their backyard," he told the ABC.

The location of the second room is subject to a consultation process being run by former police chief commissioner Ken Lay.

Acting Premier James Merlino insists the North Richmond centre is saving lives and other initial problems have improved.

With AAP

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