01/22/2013 15:23 EST | Updated 03/24/2013 05:12 EDT

Abbotsford reconsiders ban on harm reduction facilities

The City of Abbotsford is holding a public consultation tonight as it reconsiders its eight-year old ban on harm reduction centres, including medical marijuana dispensaries and needle exchanges.

The city, which is located in the Fraser Valley east of Vancouver, has a zoning bylaw that prevents methadone treatment clinics, needle exchanges and supervised injection sites from setting up.

Mayor Bruce Banman says the ban on pot dispensaries is unlikely to be changed, but he can see the benefit of allowing other harm reduction facilities.

"I've said publicly all we have to do is reduce one case of AIDS and a couple cases of hepatitis C and this program pays for itself."

Banman adds that the real harm reduction has to happen at the detox level, and that's the Fraser Health Authority's responsibility.

The forum takes place tonight at 7 p.m. PT at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium.