Call to move addict clinic from CBD

A LOCAL councillor wants the methadone clinic near the notoriously dangerous Bell Street to be moved further from the city's centre.

Cr Andrew Antoniolli said Bell Street, in the Ipswich CBD, had been a problem for too long and called for the methadone clinic on Brisbane Street to be relocated and more police to patrol the area.

“Something needs to be done because when you have a street that has a methadone clinic, a sexual health clinic, a needle exchange program and is a public transport centre - you are bound to have problems,” Cr Antoniolli said.

Methadone is a substitute for heroin and methadone clinics aim to eliminate the need for heroin addicts to “hang out” for their next hit, which can be the precursor to crime and illness.

“I know there are reasons why the methadone clinic is so close to the city. I understand it needs to be near public transport for easy access, but my personal opinion is surely it does not have to be in the centre of the city,” Cr Antoniolli said. Cr Antoniolli said the area also needed a stronger police presence.

“There are not enough police in that area,” he said.

“My personal opinion is four or five police on the beat, physically in the Ipswich CBD area - would be ideal.”

Eleven new police will begin working in the Ipswich area this year, but it is unknown where they will be stationed.

Woodend resident Rayleen Wallace regularly catches public transport in the street and said she had felt scared at times.

“I think it is a good idea to move it,” Ms Wallace said.

“During the day when I catch a bus or a train it can be a bit scary.”

Heidi Wietsehorke agreed.

“I think they should move it somewhere else, although not too far away because most of the people who use it (the clinic) rely on public transport,” she said.

“I know people have to watch themselves coming to Bell Street during the day.

“It is not safe, especially since the shops have moved to Riverlink and there are less people around.”

Last February, a local cab driver told The Queensland Times about his ordeals on Bell Street during Friday night shifts.

David Suthers said he was sick of having his cab vandalised and being robbed of his night's takings.

State Member for Ipswich Rachel Nolan and Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale held a meeting last Friday to discuss Bell Street's problems.

A spokesperson for Cr Pisasale said the meeting went well and details of what actions were to be implemented would be released this week.

Ms Nolan said she recognised Bell Street has been a problem and has had concerns regarding safety.

Management of the methadone clinic could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

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