Letter from a Downtown Business re Safety Concerns

Mary Ito, owner of the Northumberland Dental Hygiene Clinic located near the corner of King and Division downtown has sent a letter to the Police Board expressing concern about “unsheltered” people near her business.  The letter is scheduled to be made public at the Police Board meeting on Tuesday 21 March with the staff recommendation that it be received for information.  Mary is not the first person to be concerned about the perceived danger from homeless people in this area – that is, along Division from the Esplanade to north of King and both directions along King as well as West on Albert to the bus shelter.  I have heard reports of bank ATM lobbies on King being locked after hours due to them being “occupied” – how do working people access their bank when ATMs are locked up?  Can we not have a Police presence in this area for a good part of the time?

Mary is obviously concerned and needs help – although the unsheltered also obviously need help.

Rather than make Mary’s letter an attachment, it would seem better to simply quote it unedited.

From: Mary Ito
Sent: Tuesday, March 7, 2023 11:35 AM
To: Dean Pepper
Subject:
Letter of Safety Concerns

Dean Pepper
Cobourg Police Service Board Chair [Ed. Note: Dean is currently vice-chair]

Dear Dean Pepper:
I am writing to you as a concerned Cobourg citizen and downtown business owner to inform you of some of the ongoing activities that are occurring downtown. I am the owner of the Northumberland Dental Hygiene Clinic located at 21-2 King St. West. My office is located beside the Dutch Oven and behind Audrey’s and the Hearing Center. I have been in business for the last 15 years, 8 of which have been at this location. My office is down the laneway called First Street which runs from King Street through to Albert Street.

I, along with many, many other Cobourg citizens, am concerned about the increasing issues we are having with the unsheltered people.

We had someone living under the back stairs of the office last summer. They had set up an encampment under there. The stairs face the parking lot where people who are attending our clinic park their cars. Our clients were worried about their cars being broken into while they attended the clinic. We have also had two recent occurrences of the unsheltered using IV drugs right beside our door leading into our clinic. There is an alcove beside the back entrance of the Hearing Center and they go in there to use their drugs. We have had to call the non-emergency number for the police and they once removed a person from the premises and in the second case, because the person had already left by the time they arrived, took a description, realized they knew who it was, and told us that they would find them and tell them not to use our place as an injection site moving forward. People arriving at my clinic should not have to witness this! They also do not feel safe coming into the clinic when the person is beside the door in case said person should decide to enter the premises in a heightened state. There is also loud shouting occurring at all hours of the day and evening. We have installed bright lights in the back for people to feel safer when arriving or leaving the clinic when it is dark. I have a client who also owns a downtown business and she now closes earlier in the winter months when it gets dark earlier so she doesn’t have to walk to her car in the dark.

I have seen an increasing number of unsheltered people which I’m sure you are aware of which loiter downtown. In most cases, they are harmless. They sometimes stop me and ask for money. We have a large population of elderly people living in Cobourg and many of them do not feel safe coming downtown at all. We want people to attend our downtown to shop and come to appointments but with safety an issue, many are choosing not to. It is certainly a sad state of affairs right now.

Thank you for reading this and I would love to be able to discuss this with you further.

Regards,
Mary Ito RDH

You have to give credit to Mary for bringing this to the attention of the Police.  They have the job of keeping us safe.  It’s also good that the Police Board have it on their agenda.  Maybe the board will have a positive suggestion for Police action.

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Kathleen
11 months ago

If anybody saw Nichole Beatty’s interview on Today’s Northumberland on Monday night and believes she never heard Missy’s interview w. Washborn and she abstained from the vote because she wants to learn more???? She clearly has an agenda and a proven reputation for going behind Council’s back. Throw this woman off Council!

Matt
11 months ago

King and Division is a hub for “the unhoused,” because King and Division is a hub for drug sales.

The problems Mary Ito describes don’t seem to be with homeless people in-and-of themselves–they’re with drug addicted homeless people. Actually, those problems aren’t even with drug addicts in-and-of themselves–they’re with drug addicts who have no regard ir respect for other people’s private property nor for their community.

Those are not all the same people and I think it’s high time we started making those distinctions.

Eastender
11 months ago

Good luck on getting Council to hold a public meeting on the crime issue.
I was one of those who encountered those others at my indoor bank ATM.
Not pleasant.
I contacted the branch manager to complain and was told “we have to keep
the lobby open for customers “, which puzzled me.
I also contacted the Mayor, and I am still waiting for a reply, since November….
(In my note to hizzoner, I too asked for a public meeting).

Last edited 11 months ago by Eastender
Lucas Cleveland
Reply to  Eastender
11 months ago

Eastender….. Please reach out again to my email [email protected]. For reference I have recieved well over 10,000 emails since Novemmnber and I do apologize that I missed responding to yours. You can also always drop by the office for a meeting, call my cell phone @289 251 4193 or reach out to my assistant @ [email protected] to book an appointment to ensure I will be here when you come by so as not to waste your time. Again my apologies for not responding to your email. I am always happy to discuss ways to reduce crime in our community and am looking for active and pasonate community members to help highlight and advocate alongs side of me to start making meaningful changes in the current approach to justice and harm reduction.

Ann
11 months ago

Today’s Northumberland reports that the tents will pop up on private property Fridays from 7 pm to 10 pm.

ben
11 months ago

Summary of discussion and options for a solution: https://burdreport.ca/blog/2023/03/20/16441/

Dave
Reply to  ben
11 months ago

When you talked about reduction to health care by Ontario Ben – Mental Health and Addiction are part of CAMH’s services Ben. They have just been awarded $50 million by the Feds and large amounts in the recent Ontario Budget. Google CAMH Budget reduced? You will find several articles from CAMH welcoming the Ontario budget providing funding as well as the Federal $50 million.

Ben
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

So all the community healths clinics are funded by camh?

Dave
Reply to  Ben
11 months ago

No the drug addiction one here in Cobourg is funded by the Province of Ontario. Also Ben I vote by thought expressed as I am sure most do on the Blog. I couldn’t care less if people called themselves Atilla The Hun or identify under their full names – if the thought is good I give it a thumbs up.

Last edited 11 months ago by Dave
ben
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

Dave, there is only one taxpayer (Mike Harris quote) I don’t care where the money comes from it is where it goes that is important and if you want the money to get out of its ‘silos’ then coordination is what is needed. Get the ‘wraparound’ started by putting the services together!

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

Dave,

CAMH is also supposed to assess the cops on sick leave due to PTSD so they can get assistance from the WSIB. So far it isn’t happening. The backlog is 9-12 months.

The consequence is that the Town has to pay twice: once for sick leave and once for the replacement. The CPSB says this costs the Cobourg taxpayers $1-2M per year

Dougie needs to pony up and pay for his election bribe. Repay the Ontario Cities and Towns for the extra wage costs due to the delay in getting PTSD assessments and WSIB funding.

Last edited 11 months ago by Bryan
Dave
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

They just received the funding Bryan if you google you will see the dates. It takes a while to expand and create programs.
As Toronto is overrun by people suffering with addiction and mental health issues this is a neglected health area, I was pleased to read it is now receiving further funding. With what the police are asked to deal with – multiple hats – be a social worker, called out for situations dealing with people with major mental illness, forced to draw on an armed juvenile and reported in the media they shot that poor and wonderful neighbour we had who meant no harm to anyone except when he was chasing us with a knife.

Last edited 11 months ago by Dave
Bryan
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

Dave:
Funding for CAMH or to repay the Cities and Towns for the duplicate police wages?

Are you referring to the April 2022 article in Blue Line? Please share if you have a more recent source

https://www.blueline.ca/provincial-budget-dedicates-45-million-to-mental-health-for-first-responders/

The April 2022 announcements are just that: announcements. Is there anything actually in place yet?

Dave
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

Bryan – so you’re saying amounts approved and designated in the Provincial Budget are never disbursed? They just sit there? I see in that article it additionally reports “the province is building a dedicated mental health facility for first responders, with the provincial and federal governments each providing $1M for the capital planning stage of the facility. The Runnymede First Responders PTSI Rehabilitation Centre is due to be completed in late 2024.”
I had always thought Bryan once an amount is included and approved in the Ontario Budget the funds would go forth their designated purpose, not held or just an announcement.
As a kid I had a farm set complete with vegetables you would plug in their stands, as they appeared instantly my friend and I called them “quick grow seeds” as they would instantly appear. Alas life is not like that but the funds have been given to CAMH and the miracle of quick grow seeds is just a fantasy but the help is on the way, it just isn’t instant.

Last edited 11 months ago by Dave
Bryan
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

Dave,
You wrote “….so you’re saying amounts approved and designated in the Provincial Budget are never disbursed? They just sit there?” 
I didn’t say that. Please show me the quote.

I repeat: an announcement is just and announcement.
The Prov says it has set aside funds and plans to do something.
They didn’t say when or where?.

You wrote “….in that article it additionally reports “the province is building a dedicated mental health facility for first responders,”
Have you seen anything indicating this facility has been built?
Is it in operation?
When did it open?
Where is it?

Dougie made his bribe to the cops in 2016.
Didn’t he foresee the need for additional assessment facilities and funding?
Here we are 7 years later and the cops are still waiting 9-12 months for PTSD assessment.

Further, Cobourg (and many Ontario Towns) is/are paying double for cops wages because of Dougie’s failure to think things through.

Last edited 11 months ago by Bryan
Dave
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

Quote – “The April 2022 announcements are just that: announcements. Is there anything actually in place yet?” Which was approved under the Ontario budget which you have quoted as Blue Line.

However Bryan I admit I errored on CAMH funding awards. Then Federal funding $50 million for additiional services was prior to the 2022 April Blue Line during the COVID period.

Ken Strauss in earlier blogs said the following years would be expensive ones for taxpayers – with that I totally agree. In recent years it seems personal responsibility for ones life is no longer taught in households, attending school with respect to others — shootings, stabbings. Never happened when I was attending. Often the head of the family is a single teenager Is there any wonder there are so many disenfranchised youth with no life skills Bryan needing assistance from drug treatment programs if they even want to attend them which is not a requirement for occupying the proposed sleeping cabins. In addition to Roxham Road immigration.

Last edited 11 months ago by Dave
Bryan
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

Dave,

You didn’t answer my question.
You wrote “….so you’re saying amounts approved and designated in the Provincial Budget are never disbursed? They just sit there?”

I asked you to provide the quote where I said “… are never disbursed? They just sit there?… ” You didn’t do that.
Those are your words Dave, not mine.

My comment was “The April 2022 announcements are just that: announcements”

Dave
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

The building is actively, it states being built, and will open in 2024. How can funds in an approved budget be just an announcement Bryan? In another info released by CAMH they said they were happily creating programs from the money they received from the Ontario government.
https://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=AwrEpZSeDhlkSt8FZ73rFAx.;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzQEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Ny/RV=2/RE=1679392542/RO=10/RU=https%3a%2f%2fwww.camh.ca%2fen%2fcamh-news-and-stories%2fcamh-welcomes-ontarios-budget/RK=2/RS=ucSAIsJwY6YQ.1T2zR1Pg_7kxZQ- or google camh,budget reduced? CAMH Welcomes Ontario Budget

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

Dave,

All of the reports on this are dated around April 2022 and they all say the Runnymede facility is expected to open in late 2024.

Have you found any further articles indicating that the facility is actually being built?
Progress reports?

The point is that budget approval simply means that funds are allocated. That’s all. The actual development of something is a future event. When? Who knows.

If ground has been broken and something is actually being built, where are the PR pics of Dougie and his cronies with their silver shovels?

You wrote’ “…. In another info released by CAMH… ” Please share the link(s) so that readers can benefit from your research and understand the context of your comments.

Last edited 11 months ago by Bryan
Bryan
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

Dave,
You wrote “The building is actively, it states being built, and will open in 2024”

The Blue Line article says “the announcement that the province is building a dedicated mental health facility for first responders, with the provincial and federal governments each providing $1M for the capital planning stage of the facility. The Runnymede First Responders PTSI Rehabilitation Centre is due to be completed in late 2024.”

At the date of the article, Apr 2022, nothing had been built and the only funds committed by the Fed & Prov was $1M each towards the capital planning stage of the facility.

The link you provided above re CAMH doesn’t work for some reason

Last edited 11 months ago by Bryan
Dave
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

Perhaps Bryan on the link, as suggested you should have googled as I suggested. The copy link feature is not working as it comes through now on a different provider on my computer now. The last project was a major one involving 4 phases begun some time ago and completed on time with progress reports after each phase. As the Runnymede Centre is not in phases the reporting will be on completion in 2024 as they reported on completion of each of the phases.

ben
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

I had always thought Bryan once an amount is included and approved in the Ontario Budget the funds would go forth their designated purpose, not held or just an announcement.”

Hasn’t happened yet in the Health or Education Ministries both are sitting on committed funds.

marya
Reply to  ben
11 months ago

Why do we require these frequent links that report on summaries of everything that is written below on the Cobourg Blog?

ben
Reply to  marya
11 months ago

Just another point of view for your open mind!

Cap’n John
11 months ago

Cobourg is facing the same issues ( homelessness, drugs, mental health, financial) that many other communities are facing.
There are no easy solutions to these problems, but there must be experience and knowledge that can help us.
My suggestion is that Council organize a public meeting to discuss.
All involved parties should be invited to speak and participate in a Q&A session.
This would include Council, police, community support groups, downtown business community, etc.
Hopefully this will assist in understanding the issues, allow residents to speak, and perhaps identify possible solutions.

Dubious
Reply to  Heartbreaking for all
11 months ago

Can Chief Mowat help Cobourg with our drug, crime and vagrancy problems? Maybe as a consultant?

Informed
Reply to  Dubious
11 months ago

I think they used to call it tough love. Much respect to Chief Mowat for putting citizens of Alderville first.

Informed
Reply to  Heartbreaking for all
11 months ago

A long way from here I hope.

Keith Oliver
11 months ago

I make an effort to learn all I can about homelessness, addiction, erratic public behavior, the lack of stable housing-affordable-to-all, food insecuirity, etc, and the fact that all appear to be on the rise. My efforts include talking with those involved. The reaction of myself and my partner is to focus on food insecurity.

The variety of factors discussed here often overlap and reinforce eachother. The public and politiical response is irratic if not irrational. This is an example of a complex problem that will only be solved through input from many interests and experiences, brought together by effective leadership.

To date this leadership does not exist. Why? How long does this have to go on for before there is a major tragidy that will shock the community?

The lack of effective leadership is evidenced by the type of chaotic good-will being proposed by individuals who have the courage to try something. A safe injection site in a tent; temporary individual sleeping canines; shutting down the changing room at the Rotary Park ice rink; locking the doors to ATM bank lobbies: encouraging police to simply punish individuals for “inappropriate public behaviour”.

Questions remaine unanswered if not ignored. Why is it that I can get immediate and effective treatment for a complicated physical ailment worth 100s of thousands of dollars, but not for a complicated mental one? Why is it that the abandoned Brookside Incarceration Centre, which continues all the physical facilities necessary to create a temporary centre to address the above, can not be made immediately available?

Where is the real public outrage at the inability to fix these never ending problems? Where is the leadership? Or is it true that we love to complain but don’t really care?

Last edited 11 months ago by Keith Oliver
JimT
Reply to  Keith Oliver
11 months ago

And why is it that the existing (it isn’t “old”) Golden Plough Lodge, which is ideally suited to accommodate the homeless and provide support as well, is to be demolished by the county as soon as the new facility next door is completed?

Jade
11 months ago

Missy the enabler, enough said

Elizabeth Greaves
11 months ago

I listened to Missy’s podcast with interest. Before returning to my home town, I worked with a similar population in Toronto for many years, albeit the drugs were less lethal 15 years ago. I have questions about the safe injection sites, of course – but what most resonated with me was that Missy and company will be keeping people alive. And they are reaching out as caring humans to people who may rarely get that approach. There are many steps to follow saving a life – if we have the resources, and the addicts have the will. A safe period – months – to dry out, then months to take slow steps towards a life that does not lead back to the streets – employment, housing, acceptance, acquiring or regaining a life and a community that is not focused on drugs.
As well, I thought of all the families and friends who have lost a loved one to drugs – whether by death, or destruction of the person they had known. I can not imagine that pain.

Beachwalker
Reply to  Elizabeth Greaves
11 months ago

This is lovely. You sound like a nice person. You will get thumbs down from the entitled in Cobourg who believe only the homeless are on drugs.

Elizabeth Greaves
Reply to  Beachwalker
11 months ago

Thank you, Beachwalker. I grew up 3 houses down from the “Insane Asylum”, where local kids played with the residents. I remember “the Senators” – older men, very drunk by noon, who sat all day on a bench near the Dutch Oven. I now live downtown, and walk the streets (by daylight, as I am rather ancient) with no concerns – never carry a purse, wear jewelry, and often speak to folks on the street who are “homeless” – and get a smile back. By no means do I diminish the problems we have here – throughout the country – but thumbs down do not impact me or my approach to life.
And perhaps I might add – in 1976, my first week staffing Nellie’s Hostel for women – 2 of the 30 we were supporting were from….Cobourg! At Street City, in the 1980’s, the only murder we had, and the only real injury to staff – was a man from ….Cobourg. None of this is new – the weight of it is.

Gerinator
11 months ago

Is it possible that past efforts, to deal with homelessness, mental illness and addiction, are failing because we deal with these afflictions as a single solution? As opposed to a separate solution for each. Surely there must be large numbers of homeless that are neither suffering from mental illness nor addition? A dilemma I see is that any solution will require some form of decorum, following of rules on the part of the afflicted. If so, how is that to be managed for those who don’t/can’t participate with these constraints?

Scottie
11 months ago

I’ve read most of the posts on this subject and one thing seems clear to me —- for heavens sake, why doesn’t the Cobourg Police Department ARREST the DEALERS who are supplying the drugs to these poor addicted people (and DON’T let them out on bail — KEEP them incarcerated!!)- if the local supply of drugs dries up, it seems to me that the unhoused, addicted might decide to actually get the help they so desperately need and if Cobourg becomes a toxic place for drug dealers perhaps they will move on to somewhere else. Kind of like the reverse of “if you build it they will come” — if you get rid of the DEALERS – and stop the SUPPLY then the result will be less drugs and therefore less addicts. Setting up safe injection sites, to my mind, will be simply setting up a central location from which these dealers can sell their poisons. Thankfully, in my life, I have never known anyone personally who was an addict so I may be wearing rose-coloured glasses here, but coming face to face with some of these people who are sheltering at the Library, has given me a really good snapshot of how desperate and young many of them are — pulls at your heartstrings — but that doesn’t make Cobourg any safer.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Scottie
11 months ago

You Mean safe injection sites don’t give away Free Safe stuff to Inject.
and save them if they OD Come on Folks
When you want to attract Business don’t you give away Free Samples
and Come Ons the whole idea of Injection sites is to attract Users
and to provide safe medical grade Stuff..
But where are we wanting to attract them to
Cobourg ????????????????

Toronto2Cobourg
Reply to  Scottie
11 months ago

It’s been proven time and time again that arresting the dealers does nothing to prevent the problem. They will just be released very quickly and back at it the next week. We need to address the root cause of the issue which is treatment, rehabilitation, mental health and affordable housing.

Scottie
Reply to  Toronto2Cobourg
11 months ago

I think you missed the whole point of my post … I was saying that the drug DEALERS need to be arrested AND KEPT INCARCERATED — not let out on bail which is what seems to be happening now in most cases that we hear about. Unless a change is made at the Attorney General’s level where the directive to the justice system administrators is changed in order to KEEP these criminals jailed, then I believe the situation will just worsen when there are basically little or NO consequences for their drug-dealing criminal actions. Changes need to happen from the top down – so instead of us complaining about the VICTIMS of these drug dealers (ie. the addicts who have to steal to support their habits and are homeless), we MUST demand better from the justice system itself. THAT is the root cause of the whole problem as far as I’m concerned!

Chris
11 months ago

I moved to Cobourg almost 10 years ago and bought a house downtown specifically so that I could walk to restaurants, bars, shops, and the beach. I had always felt safe walking to meet friends downtown for dinner or drinks at night, and even walking home alone late at night.
That has all changed and I don’t feel safe anymore.

If I can walk downtown with friends who live in the neighborhood I will, but if I’m meeting friends downtown who drive (as they don’t live within walking distance), I need to either have them pick me up at my house or drive down myself.
Kind of defeats the purpose of living where I can walk to everything.

I have had to put padlocks on both of my backyard sheds just in the last year as people were using them for shelter, to smoke in, or to steal things.

I really do feel for the homeless people and those suffering from addictions, but downtown Cobourg just isn’t the same anymore.
And I must admit that I really don’t know what the solution to this is.

Dave
Reply to  Chris
11 months ago

Chris – Rehab centres for those that want help, jail or lock down mental institutions for those that don’t. Grew up in a neighbourhood many years ago that was plagued that was the solution then and it worked much better than what is being done today to keep communities safe.

CiW
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

You can thank Mike Harris for closing the “mental institutions”. He did, however, achieve a balanced budget. Unbalance the budget please and re-open the institutions!!!!

Dave
Reply to  CiW
11 months ago

CIW – Yes I have never understood why Mike Harris would do that. One thing puzzles me more is since then we have had different governments sitting, different leaders and yet the mental institutions have not reopened. Why have the succeeding governments not rectified this? I good thing I read was that CAMH has a plan in the works to expand with a large new building providing mental health services. I gathered live in accommodation is offered as well as people detained on mental health warrant convictions. Most likely also Rehab/life programs for the addicted. We also need to expand our jail system especially for crimes such as B&E, offenses against citizens, vagrancy.
What can I say it all falls on deaf ears, thank goodness Alberta has seen the light.

Last edited 11 months ago by Dave
Kathleen
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

A family member of mine just retired after 25 yrs at CAMH. Nobody filled her job. Govt just keeps slashing their budget.
The people have to hold the Feds and Provincial Ministers accountable and call a National Crisis. Demand funding for Mental Institutions and Rehab Centres.
This is too big for local governments to solve.

Dave
Reply to  Kathleen
11 months ago

I just googled CAMH budgets, try CAMH, budget reduced? Kathleen. I would have provided the links but you are only allowed one link here. There are several articles welcoming the Ontario budget with recent large funds provided to support CAMH. the Federal Government which gave 50 million is also listed. Dates 2022. I am puzzled therefore where you are getting your information Kathleen.
Some of the articles originate with CAMH news release postings.

Last edited 11 months ago by Dave
Kathleen
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

Hey, I can only tell you what I know for sure. My family member’s job was not filled after she retired in December. She was a therapist.
But I’ll bet if you Googled the Executives of CAMH, their salaries have grown.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

Dave

It’s hard to believe but Premier Harris thought he was doing the right thing by downloading care to the localities which the affective individuals came from because it would be better suited to each.

What he failed to do was consult, create a model to be followed and provide adequate financial support to local initiatives.

David Tsubouchi, his wealthy lawyer golfing partner turned Minister of Social Services, recommended that those who could not afford proper food buy disscounted food items in damaged packaging and cut social assistance payments by 22 percent.

Last edited 11 months ago by Keith Oliver
Bryan
Reply to  Keith Oliver
11 months ago

KO,

Ah yes, Tuna Tsubouchi.
I remember the uproar that sage advice brought

JimT
Reply to  CiW
11 months ago

Unbalance the budget“? The budget in Ontario has been very “unbalanced” for years. We are deep in debt and cannot possibly save our way out. Ever.

The Province of Ontario pays out more than a billion dollars – $1,000,000,000. – every month on just interest payments alone, all of which could be used for social services if we were not so very deep in debt. 

Last edited 11 months ago by JimT
Keith Oliver
Reply to  JimT
11 months ago

JimT

Interesting how people get so riiled up about government getting in debit but have no concern when a well run business does.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
11 months ago

Keith, you’ve asserted many times that government is not a business and assuredly government is not “well run”. Why are you comparing government to businesses?

Last edited 11 months ago by Ken Strauss
Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 months ago

Ken Strauss

Simple. Because both have to deal with growth, unforseen challenges and problems, and invest in solutions in the present before they become many times more costly if left to solve in the future.

Another similarity is that spending should be based on a cost-benefit analysis.

Where they differ is in the answer to the question “to whose benefit?). For business the answer is “to the investors or share holders!”. For government it”s “to the benefit of the community at large and a basic standards of living for all!”.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
11 months ago

Another similarity is that spending should be based on a cost-benefit analysis.

Keith, I agree but sadly the cost-benefit analysis for government is based on the benefit of being re-elected rather than benefiting the majority. Benefits for special interest groups — addicts and pickleball players to name two in Cobourg — tend to prevail over the benefits of safe towns and lower taxes for everyone.

Bryan
Reply to  Keith Oliver
11 months ago

Keith Oliver,

Well run businesses use debt with purpose and caution. They rarely get into debt problems. Why? Because it’s their money.
Governments (have you ever seen a well run one?) rarely make the connection between revenue and expenses. Debt is just another funding source. Spend, spend, spend. After all, its not their money, it’s ours.

trying2makesense
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

Bryan, a business has but one obligation, providing a return on investment to the Shareholder(s) while protecting that investment. “Government”, by the people, for the people, has one obligation as well, to protect and support ALL the entities under its umbrella, NOT just the shareholder known as the Taxpayer, ultimately the Investor of record, but all those for which it holds responsibility of care, including financially non-contributing ones. That in itself is a very unbalanced position and dare I say, an “impossible” end game. So, to think for one minute that such a sustainable balance is expected, thinkable or even possible is at best, delusional. Endless complaints about failures of governments of any stripe to achieve any such unsustainable, fictional and impossible position are tiresome and ultimately unneeded. Let’s face it, such complaints are about the choices they make as to what and where their attentions are focused on at a particular frame of time. Just reading the varied comments on this topic alone shows how impossible it is to solve, or attempt to solve, the issue to the satisfaction of all the involved parties.
As for “a solution” to this issue, the realization that the issue itself is seen so differently even by the few on this blog space alone indicates how complex any solution will be, which is far cry from what some seem to expect of government. Its unnecessary to use the word complex, if it weren’t complex, the issue wouldn’t be one to begin with. All thoughts are relevant, either as contribution to a ‘complex’ solution or as real-time examples of what should be avoided. It takes many bees to build a hive with one overall objective yet each bee’s contribution is just as important as another’s. Bees have been around a very long time but have they solved all their problems, nahh…but there’s a lesson of some sort there.

Bryan
Reply to  trying2makesense
11 months ago

trying2makesense,

You wrote “….. “Government”, by the people, for the people, has one obligation as well, to protect and support ALL the entities under its umbrella, NOT just the shareholder known as the Taxpayer, ultimately the Investor of record, but all those for which it holds responsibility of care, including financially non-contributing ones…. “

Fine and noble objectives. The reality is that “Government” (the people) don’t have the resources to do this. Therefore hard choices have to be made as to which “services” provide the most benefit for the most people.

Resources, mostly money, has to be allocated to achieve the best cost-benefit possible. Debt is not an answer, Eventually it has to be paid back, with interest. Unlimited reliance on debt ultimately results in financial collapse. Governments do go broke. Look at the numerous third world counties where this has happened. Closer to home, Towns and Cities also go bankrupt….Detroit, for example.

The reality is also that, as Thomas Jefferson noted “we get the government that we deserve”, With most of the population abdicating their civic responsibility (not voting) we end up with governments at all levels elected by a minority (Dougie is in power with 16% of the total electorate vote).

Spending is often done on the basis of the loudest voices rather than merit.

The issues are complex, I agree.

There are unused effective solutions however, The primary one requires our elected officials learning to say NO.  

trying2makesense
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

to Bryan,
“…say NO”, but to whom? Isn’t that what this is all about? It seems to me that many of the comments here are dissatisfied with those particular choices. So, different (better) choices…different (better) outcomes. It may not be the ‘lack’ of resources but rather their allocation. Politicians respond with choices that are popular, and unpopular issues are not fertile grounds for popularity building…UNLESS the voters make them so. What’s happening now will raise the discomfort level of voters and is therefore more likely to make voter engagement grow, and if it reaches critical mass, politicians are more apt to take the chance to come onside and address those issues with sincerity.

“The reality is that “Government” (the people) don’t have the resources to do this.” …says who? A hard look at Government spending practices reveals wasted “resources” and helps to explain, in part, one (manageable) reason for the shortage of resources you point to. I do agree that allocation is a major factor, more so than the lack of resources, in addressing unpopular issues and that’s where budgeting has to be the first place to attack them. Budgets have gradually taken on multiple, but conflicting personalities, and in my opinion, have come to be more of a tool for voter manipulation than voter support. A lack of voter clout translates to being severely marginalized and as such, finding oneself on the ‘NO’ list that you advocate. That ‘reality’ simply means that these unpopular issues will remain unresolved until they command the critical mass of attention to attract the political will to address them in full sincerity.

It all sounds so ideal, you say, but that’s a good place from which to start a long, hard road ahead. With an eye on the ideal we can guide the process rather than have the process lead us back to where we started.

Bryan
Reply to  trying2makesense
10 months ago

trying2makesense,

A well reasoned reply.
Thank You.

NO, may be an appropriate response to:
noisy vocal minorities,
special interest groups,
staff recommendations supported by incomplete/poor staff work
recommendations without a clear priority
recommendations promoting staff agendas

Last edited 10 months ago by Bryan
Heartbreaking for all
Reply to  JimT
11 months ago

Would you be able to provide a source for that number?

Bryan
Reply to  Heartbreaking for all
11 months ago

Heartbreaking & JimT,

Ontario completed $41.1 billion in long-term borrowing in 2021–22.

This is $13.5 billion lower than anticipated in the 2021 Budget forecast, primarily due to lower deficits in fiscal years 2020–21 and 2021–22. The 2022–23 long-term public borrowing forecast is $41.5 billion, a further decrease of $17.6 billion from the 2021 Budget forecast.

Ontario is forecast to pay $13.0 billion in interest costs in 2021–22, and $13.5 billion in 2022–23, down from the 2021 Budget forecasts of $13.1 billion and $13.7 billion, respectively.

Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio is now forecast to be 40.7 per cent in 2021–22, and 41.4 per cent in 2022–23, down 8.1 and 8.2 percentage points, respectively, from the forecasts of 48.8 per cent and 49.6 per cent in the 2021 Budget.

Ontario’s net debt-to-revenue is forecast to be 228 per cent in 2021–22 and 238 per cent in 2022–23, a decrease of 58 percentage points and 59 percentage points, respectively, from the 2021 Budget forecast.

Ontario’s interest on debt-to-revenue is forecast to be 7.5 per cent in 2021–22 and 2022–23, a decrease of 1.0 percentage point and 1.1 percentage points, respectively, from the 2021 Budget forecast.

https://budget.ontario.ca/2022/chapter-4.html

Heartbreaking for all
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

Thank you. Lots to learn here.

2penniesworth
11 months ago

Why could the Provincial and Federal governments in concert not set up The Golden Plough as a fully paid for and staffed Rehabilitation Centre…no safe injection sites…no sleeping huts..
Just..if you come to Cobourg it is for help to recover not for a safe drug haven but a safe recovery haven..
Make it free to the homeless addict who honestly wants to be helped. There will always be those
who do not want help so they should not be encouraged to visit Cobourg…We are doing addicts
no kindness by encouraging their pain…

Opal Rosamond
Reply to  2penniesworth
11 months ago

The writer is absolutely correct. Please do not follow what happed in Victoria. It was done through kindness for the drug users. However, it has ruined the city. Retail businesses have closed. People are no longer wanting to live in the downtown area due to homeless persons.
The position taken by the city council has just encouraged more addicted people to move to Victoria.
I lived there for 14 years and observed how the city deteriorated to the point where a beautiful downtown area no longer exists.

Sandpiper
Reply to  2penniesworth
11 months ago

Fantastic I have been saying this since they decided to tear it down
They have a Hidden agenda here and don’t want to have the Vagrant population any closer to their offices than we want them near our homes and families . But I can’t think of a better location and close to the Hospital as well
This is a fantastic economical opportunity to have all under 1 roof solution
and control.

Cathy
Reply to  Sandpiper
11 months ago

As well as jobs, it’s a win win. The county however, states that the golden plough isn’t safe to live in. Yet, residents still live there.

Lois
Reply to  Cathy
11 months ago

I think sandpiper makes a very good point. There’s nothing wrong with certain wings in the GPL. It would be perfect for the homeless in the west south wing. Theres a nice sized room for meetings or outreach programs to take place. Whats the excuse for not using the GPL..? Has our mayor talked to the county about it?

Bryan
Reply to  Lois
11 months ago

Lois,

Why is space at the GPL needed?
It is not currently vacant and not likely to be for some time. The new GPL is somewhat behind schedule.

Further, Transition House indicates that it has space available on any given night.

The ones “out on the street” are there by choice because they can’t (won’t??) abide by the “rules”. Why do you think they would behave
differently if space was provided for them at the old GPL.

Using/creating facilities at the old GPL will have the same result as the proposed sleeping cabins…. build it and they will come. This does not reduce the problem, it makes it worse.

A place to sleep is not the issue. Readily available prompt drug/rehab/mental health facilities/services are needed and are seriously lacking currently.

Town residents are rightly concerned for the plight of the “homeless”. Nonetheless, it is not Cobourg’s problem

The Province and the County need to stepped up now.

Write, email, phone Dougie and Piccini. Keep kicking their asses until they take serious action and deal with this problem

Lois
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

I agree.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Lois
11 months ago

AND the other End can be converted to that New improved Police station they keep asking for.
Quite central for Cobourg as it expands east and west

Give me a break
Reply to  Sandpiper
11 months ago

Totally agree about using the Golden Plough but once the new building is up they want to demolish it and turn it into a parking lot. Why is the Warden and our Mayor not voicing their opinion ….. the Warden is not that concerned as her area is not impacted ….. same applies with port Hope …. We all belong to the Northumberland County and Cobourg should not carry the load ….. am sure that the County folks would not like the homeless hanging around their pristine environment ….. Mayor Cleveland and Deputy Mayor Beatty time to push harder ….. maybe the small homes should be located on the County property ….. close to the hospital, EMS and shopping

Merle Gingrich
Reply to  Give me a break
11 months ago

I totally agree with those that are in favour of repurposeing the Golden Plough Lodge as mentioned above.
Let’s call for a referendum.

Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  2penniesworth
11 months ago

I’m not sure the residents of the new Golden Plough and their guests would want, or should be living next door to the rehab centre. I can think of a few potential problems with such close proximity to a vulnerable sector.

Lois Anne johns
Reply to  2penniesworth
11 months ago

Since when are we suppose to make life easier for drug addicts? Is this the new way? What happened to letting them hit rock bottom? It has always worked in the past. Anyone with a friend or family member of a drug addict eventually learns this. Everyone that continues on the drug addiction path is going to die. Yes they could die if you don’t help them also. But they will have a chance to stay alive and get off the drugs if life gets pretty unbearable for them. It’s called tough love. It’s horrible to see someone you love suffer but you’re not helping them by making life easier. Where are all my good friends from the sixties that continued on the drug path now? They’re all dead. Every single one of them. You think a safe injection site is going to keep them alive? I just hope someone’s there to guide these people and help them if they decide to get clean. And someplace for. Them to go when this happens. Someplace nice. Not the sleeping cabins.

Old Sailor
11 months ago

Saturday’s Globe & Mail has a good “Letter to Premier Ford” on homelessness. Page A 17. We need to be part of a a provincial solution with financial clout and support.

Dear Premier Ford,

  • The Globe and Mail (Ontario Edition)18 Mar 2023

Homelessness is a crisis in every part of Ontario. The homelessness crisis is harming people and families and communities. It is undermining the social fabric and economic prospects of our province. It imposes unnecessary costs on our health care and justice systems, and on our institutions, community agencies and government. It limits opportunity for economic participation. It reveals a lack of progress on reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. It is putting Ontario’s broader prosperity at risk.
The Government of Ontario has the tools and resources to end the homelessness crisis and it possesses the leadership and capability to solve the problem. It is not an insurmountable problem. It requires systemic changes by government to address the root causes and bring to bear housing, health, and social and economic solutions.
Municipal governments and partners in the social, health, education, business, labour and justice sectors stand ready to assist with the task. Our organizations are calling on you and the Government of Ontario to urgently:
1 acknowledge that homelessness in Ontario is a social, economic, and health crisis;
2 commit to ending homelessness in Ontario; and
3 work with a broad range of municipal, community, health, Indigenous and economic partners to develop, resource, and implement an action plan to achieve this important goal.
You have the opportunity and the resources to end homelessness in Ontario. We are here to help you succeed.

Moxy
Reply to  Old Sailor
11 months ago

I was glad to read Mary Ito’s letter and this one in the Globe & Mail. I agree completely with the concerns and compassion for unsheltered people in both. If we don’t work together as a local community and on a larger scale, life will become more difficult for all of us. We are in a mental health crisis and an affordability crisis of unprecedented proportions in our country. Putting our heads in the sand won’t help any of us. My husband and I lived overseas for many years and moved to Ontario just before the pandemic. One of the saddest changes in Canadian society I have observed after my long absence is the lack of compassion many people who are comfortable have for those who are struggling. This is not the Canada I grew up in. That attitude disturbs me as much as the polarisation and lack of civilised debate in the political sphere. If we don’t help the unsheltered and actively support justice for Indigenous people the situation in which we all live will get much worse.

Sandpiper
11 months ago

I hope Mr Pepper has the authority to actually effect change in attitude of the local Police
department . I live and walk this area daily as do my neighbours and we can all tell you its getting worse by the week and when the warm weather comes about you don’t dare walk alone.

Our cars are not safe these vagrants are not afraid to be caught going through them even in broad daylight now or in the underground parking . Here at Third st our Condos have been broken, walked into during the day and all our Bicycles etc. stolen Yet no mention of this by the Police or News
Yet no one has been caught either despite all the New cameras and lock changes .
None of the residents speak out about it as they are afraid it will affect the resale values .

marya
Reply to  Sandpiper
11 months ago

Maybe some condo residents could stop letting in intruders and start locking their unit doors, lockers and other belongings. These have been crimes of opportunities and not forced entries.

frustrated
11 months ago

Cobourg is now among many towns and cities across Canada suffering from the same problem, drugs. I contribute the crisis to many factors, including, breakdown of families and society in general, the increase of cheap street drugs, lack of respect for authority and lack of social support networks as a result of government cutbacks over many years. One only needs to look south of the border to see cities & towns that have been destroyed due to these same issues and sadly see where we are headed. Where we go from here as a society who knows. Give these people affordable apartments, tiny houses, safe injection sites whatever, it will not cure the drug problem. They will only destroy the apartments, turn neighbourhoods into slums, continue to be a plague on society, and continue using drugs. It is disturbing to anyone with an ounce of compassion to not be moved by seeing a young person on the street, cold and hungry in our cold Canadian winters. However those of us who are law abiding citizens, worked hard all our lives, raised our families, contributed to society, and pay our taxes should have the right to walk about our own communities and not feel threatened by what we see on our streets.

Moxy
Reply to  frustrated
11 months ago

Dear Frustrated,

You seem to have compassion for unsheltered people struggling with addictions. You suggest that affordable housing should be built, but then your pessimism overwhelms your compassion. If we don’t try to help such people not only will they suffer, the rest of us will be more vulnerable too. I go into Toronto for part-time freelance work a couple of times a month. The random violence on the TTC and in the downtown have become frightening with frequent murders of innocent bystanders as well as unsheltered people. Few people seem willing to advocate for the most vulnerable and troubled in society. If we don’t insist our politicians respond compassionately to these social problems they will get worse.

Sam Westcott
Reply to  frustrated
11 months ago

Right on Frustrated.

Let’s start calling things as they are. A “Drug Abuse” problem.
It is not impossible to find shelter for those genuinely in need. I know a number of people who got townhouse accommodation on Elgin St. for $150 – $300 a month.
Again if these are not available personally I would rent a room for $300 a month in some ones house. There are many options for non addicted persons.
For addicts they should be taken off our formerly safe streets and placed into Rehab and yes, not let the Town of Cobourg deteriorate like Victoria & Vancouver B.C. or replicate many U.S. cities full of drug abusers.

Last edited 11 months ago by Sam Westcott
Kathleen
11 months ago

The only way to reduce the visible drug and homeless problem in Downtown Cobourg is to gentrify the area. City Hall looks like it’s been dropped out of Architectural Digest into Popular Mechanics. You can smell the mould and see the water damage in a lots of stores. Stop giving Owners a tax break for store fronts left empty and rotting. Start beautifying King Street.
As for a solution to the homelessness and massive drug use – there are no solutions as many great minds and enablers have tried but the problem still grows.
As I said in another post, one of the root problems to unaffordable housing are the enablers who feel that if you throw taxpayer dollars to the problem it will help. All it helps to do is allow someone not to be able to afford their home. And the circle contines.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kathleen
Doug
11 months ago

As a society we need to stand up and take charge of the horrors of drug abuse that have now reached out to every small, medium and large community in our country. Politicians need to stand tall with open minds and ‘try’ to reduce this problem. Perhaps we need lots of different ideas at this point as none appear to be working. Small local success could lead to more universal programs in the future.
One big step would be to drop all the name calling, like “lazy” or “out of town people” and try very hard to look at these people with some respect. They could be ourselves some day and probably more than one of the people writing here have had their experience with drugs when they were younger. I hung with a late teen/20 something crowd where lots of drugs floated by. I remember many good guys who are now gone because they dropped farther and farther into drug addiction. Why didn’t I follow them? Perhaps I had better life goals, better family around me or maybe I was just LUCKY !

I was a Director of an Association for Community Living and dealt with many young and old mentally challenged adults who were taken advantage of, often sexually, by predators who also handed out drugs. I moved to teaching at our own Brookside Young Offenders program. MANY of those young lads confided to me about when they were sexually abused by Step Fathers and live in boy friends of their Mom’s. That was often their first source of drugs. I would not call any one of them lazy.

The challenged adults worked hard in a popular Bake Shop that we ran and almost all young offenders in my classes worked hard and completed lots of credits towards a Diploma while at Brookside. I can still remember a few that on being released to go home, bemoaned the fact that in their home environment they would never get the credits they needed to complete Grade 12. Hope they did ! Perhaps a follow up program and safe secure accommodations out in the community would save a lot of souls from becoming druggies on our streets.

Let’s get started in a meaningful way. I’m not asking you to take anyone into your own home but maybe if better services and safe clean accommodation is provided then we would soon see many street people move back to becoming contributors into what is mostly the very good country and society of Canada. We would need to SPEND money to get started.

Danjean
11 months ago

I too am concerned when walking from the parking lots to shop downtown, in fact last week was the first time in a long while that I have actually been into the bank as there are always homeless people hanging around outside!

Leona Woods
11 months ago

Missy McLean and the Greenwood Coalition are knowledgeable and experienced and with the support of all the stakeholders, should be able to come up with creative, and workable solutions that keep all people safe. Tents for drug consumption is not workable for many reasons. We do not need lazy thinkers. We need the very best to think and work together to develop the wrap around strategies to help the homeless and the business people, and everyone who lives in this town.

Dunkirk
11 months ago

Ms. Ito’s letter should be a welcome addition to the PSB’s Agenda. It should also prompt a look at where the $859K in funding that the PSB rec’d from the Province announced last May –specifically for this issue– has gone. Is there any Council oversight on this?

https://www.northumberlandnews.com/news-story/10617170-cobourg-police-receive-859-000-to-tackle-community-homelessness-addictions-and-mental-health-issues/

Kyle
Reply to  Dunkirk
11 months ago

Rides in the electric Mustang?

Bryan
Reply to  Dunkirk
11 months ago

Dunkirk,
The Town has no oversight on this. That is the purview of the CPSB. Burchat and Henderson were on the CPSB at the time. Where is their report to Council on this?

Perhaps ask the current Council reps, Bureau and Beatty, for an update.

ben
11 months ago

Perhaps the CPSB will release an accounting of the money they received last year to help with this problem. It is no good boasting about getting the money, as they did last Summer if we don’t have an accounting of where it went and the results they achieved with it.

Sandpiper
Reply to  ben
11 months ago

I was told by certain Police officers & Security that
They do not really want to interact with these persons either,
and I believe them when they tells me this
I also believe that these Street Dwellers / Nomads
which may be more appropriate designation use certain common tactics
to avoid being picked up They travel in numbers , Urinate in police cars & Cels , Vomit on command, spit on officers and public
and security. they do smell , some threaten to jab you with their syringes so on & so on .
I think a more Direct and Forceful approach is required .
Public intoxication, drunk and disorderly is still illegal . in Canada isn’t it ??

Kevin
11 months ago

Drug/alcohol addiction can be devastating to people. Enabling addicts will just delay the inevitable. Addicts who do not recover will eventually run out of time and not be able to recover from the damage to their health. Even if we could force people into rehab it will not likely work. The old Woodlawn Inn is up and running as a private addiction treatment centre. It is way too expensive for our homeless and nearly homeless. Enabling drug addiction with ‘safe’ injection sites does not seem like the right thing to do. How is injecting illegal drugs ‘safe’? Helping people to get paying work so they can support themselves is a better idea, in my opinion. It is not easy and when addicts get some money it might be spent on drugs/alcohol. As was commented some time ago, the homeless serve as examples to our children (and now people getting treatment at the new centre) of how bad things can be. Does anybody have an estimate on the nearly homeless? People who are ‘couch surfing’ without suitable employment to afford to pay their own way. Combined with people on Ontario Works, ODSP, people on leave for mental health reasons, etc. there are many in need of help and relatively fewer working people to support them. We are heading in the wrong direction. It will not end well unless we can get it under control.

Lois
Reply to  Kevin
11 months ago

Kevin there are a lot of younger single men with jobs who can’t afford the high rents in Cobourg. I noticed for years now a food bank in Peterborough on Sherbrooke a line up that goes all the way down the street. It’s basically all younger men. I very seldom see a woman. These young men go to work and then try to find somewhere to sleep and then back to work again. How depressing and hopeless for these guys. How long before they get into the world of alcohol or drugs. Is this what you mean by the nearly homeless? This is a huge problem.

Kevin
Reply to  Lois
11 months ago

There are people who do not live on the streets but do not really have a home. They live in their parents’ basements, at a friends house/apartment, in a motel. They are not on the street, yet. Yes, Lois, the men you mention are likely in this category. Depression can lead to drug/alcohol use which may have been a factor leading to their situation in the first place. Even with help from friends/family/community it is not easy. I am dealing with a situation that could be helping somebody or just enabling him. Hopefully some of these people, with the right help, can find a way to improve their situation.

Lemon Cake
11 months ago

In an ideal world, harm reduction strategies like safe injection sites would exist alongside a lot of other programs to keep people off the street and to get them off drugs. But there are NO other solutions on the table. Safe injection sites ensure that addicts don’t overdose and die – but it’s a bandaid solution that brings a host of other problems and, sadly, I think a site like this would only make our downtown worse. I’d ask our MPP what he plans to do and how he plans to allocate our provincial healthcare tax dollars to solving this issue. The Ontario Government has been cutting funding to addiction treatment centres for years – and now here we are.

Old Sailor
11 months ago

My wife and I often walk King Street from D’Arcy to Ontario. The first thing we notice now is the increasing number of disheveled looking adults wearing backpacks walking King Street and the roads running off King Street. Saturday many of the benches in front of the King St. stores were occupied by the backpack crowd in clusters enjoying “smokes”, as they have nowhere else to go between warming room visits. We see more and more of them inside or around public buildings like the library. As it gets warmer out during the daylight hours the visible number of homeless in the downtown area including Victoria Park will increase. Cobourg shoppers and tourists will stop shopping downtown. I would not want to park downtown to go to an evening play now. Our local do gooders that want to accommodate the homeless in residential areas – like at the old arena and at St. Peter’s Church, are helping to destroy the downtown charm. And putting local downtown residents and businesses on high alert. We are becoming the “Not So Feel Good Town”. Perhaps the County does not want to tackle this problem as other towns in Northumberland are okay with Cobourg trying to figure out a solution to its problem. As a Cobourg taxpayer, I can’t think of anything that needs more attention than this.

cornbread
Reply to  Old Sailor
11 months ago

Take care of the Cobourg resident problem and take the outsiders back to their original place of living.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  cornbread
11 months ago

Cornbread (or whatever your name is!)

Your statement that those in need of help should be sent back to where they came from, ignores the fact that we are all Canadians and have a moral, if not practical duty to care for eachother.

Cobourg is best positioned to do this with its’ large pool of relevant resourses and voter base.

If we demanded effective action to help these folks through counciling, treatment, access to housing and jobs, politicians would take effective action.

The real problem is that most of us don’t really care unless we occasionally feel threatened or unsafe.

cornbread
Reply to  Keith Oliver
11 months ago

Most of these troubled people have made their own beds…they had equal opportunity to education etc. and did not grasp what was available to them…they were lazy…felt the world owed them a living…govt handouts. Sorry, even the army does not want them, so don’t ask me for more tax dollars to support them. Get them out-of-town and put them on a work farm somewhere and if they can’t work to feed themselves, so be it.

Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  cornbread
11 months ago

While I disagree with safe injection sites and the sleeping cabin proposals, I take exception to your characterization of these people. One mistake, lousy genes, an accident or a crummy family situation can easily be the difference between a fully functioning person and life on the street.

ben
Reply to  cornbread
11 months ago

With that attitude why save the bother of rounding them up and shipping them off to a work farm, which costs many of your tax dollars, just shoot them on sight – kill ’em off!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ben
11 months ago

I, for one, get your satiric irony Ben.

Cornbread said “take the outsiders back to their original place of living.

My grandparents told me about the time when Victoria Beach was the dumping ground for sick Irish fleeing the potato famine. A few Cobourg residents aka bigots called for deportation back to their famine ravaged nation.

Cornbread’s suggestion is utterly stupid. It might cost a hell of a lot of $$$$$ to send an outsider back to Yellowknife or Prince Rupert, etc. And who takes them back? Cornbread has simply postulated an exceedingly underdeveloped policy.

if they can’t work to feed themselves, so be it.

In other words they can starve to death. But then there will be a big hue and cry from the hoity toity about people dying downtown and how unsightly it is when another body bag is being picked up across from Sunday church.

Sandpiper
Reply to  cornbread
11 months ago

But we have the Beach , the Parks and the Bus stations
and the Police are Polite and only ask us to move on .
What ever happened to Loitering & Trespass Laws ?

ben
Reply to  Sandpiper
11 months ago

waste of Police time, L&T will not detain a person so your desire to get them off the streets only costs us more money and wasted Police resources – good thinking!

Informed
Reply to  cornbread
11 months ago

If shanty town ever gets built that should be one of the stipulations. A birth certificate that says “born in Cobourg”

Cobourg taxpayer
11 months ago

I suspect that CPS only option when getting a call about the drug addicts setting up camps to shoot up around town is to tell them to move on. There are no other options as the addicts refuse to follow the rules at various shelter options such as Transition House, warming rooms and motel rooms. It could even be that the addicts are so far gone that they’re unable to help themselves. A safe injection site does nothing but make the problem worse. We can thank Missy McLean for losing the use of the bus shelter as she facilitated addicts using it as a warming room during a storm. Also what other addictive solutions encourage use of the same? Are alcoholics encouraged to drink more? Are gamblers encouraged to gamble more? Yet Missy thinks a safe injection site which encourages drug addicts to use drugs is a solution? Our town is being destroyed.

ben
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
11 months ago

And your solution is?

Informed
Reply to  ben
11 months ago

Why is Cobourg taxpayer expected to have a solution? No one does, but what Taxpayer says is true and it’s a crappy deal cobourg residents are having to put up with.

Last edited 11 months ago by Informed
Mrs. Anonymous
11 months ago

I just finished listening to Rob Washburn’s interview with a lady who is planning to offer a safe injection site in Cobourg.

https://consider-this.ca/volunteers-to-launch-overdose-prevention-site-in-cobourg-to-provide-support-users-says-organizer/

Have a listen. It’s quite alarming. She claims she has spoken to the Cobourg Police, our elected town officials and the fire chief. I can’t imagine this is going to make life any better for the downtown merchants and shoppers.

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  Mrs. Anonymous
11 months ago

The lady you refer to is Missy McLean and in her interview she claims all members of Town Council are or should be aware of her plans to set up two tents for drug consumption. I can state that this is the first I heard of this! And, I do not support the idea for tents where drug consumption is facilitated in or near public spaces. And in the interview with Robert Washburn she refused to identify the proposed location for the tents. To paraphrase the words of another, we do not build separate roads for people who drive drunk. As one activist to another, I will be as blunt as Missy when I reply that it is NOT ok to focus efforts to help some people while jeopardizing the well being of other members of community. Why present such a narrow bandwidth for appreciating the needs of community? I have some understanding of her style of activist tactics and am very concerned about the apparent recklessness and costs to community, including undermining the networks of social and neighbourhood supports which connect us all. Fundamentally, it is unacceptable to harm innocent others in the process of advocating for action. Security of self, feeling safe, is also a human right for everyone.

Bill
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
11 months ago

Well said, Miriam! I ask you, now, to reject the sleeping cabin proposal when it comes to a final decision. I suggest that readers check Missie McLean’s many posts on the internet or listen to Rob Washburn’s interview and judge for yourselves her credibility.

Dave
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
11 months ago

A couple of days ago the Opposition Leader announced that Alberta has reversed their position on providing such site stating they are only enabling people to use drugs. They shut these sites down. Instead they offer increased Rehab centres and have todate had a 50% reduction in drug use after providing programs to get people off drugs not stand by and enable.
Being informed through the media the problems other centres have had, break ins, etc. as well as needles which have escaped being returned to the injection site containers as people gather around these centres I certainly hope Cobourg Council will be shutting down this action and ensuring the Cobourg Police Department has their full support to stop this misguided action.

Carol
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

What Alberta us doing makes the most sense to me. When someone is fed up using there are huge wait lists to get help. Having it available when they are ready immediately is the way to go. If they could provide a tent with a qualified addiction health care professional to help make it possible to get the help they need immediately I believe would save more lives. Thank you for giving us that information

marya
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
11 months ago

Thank You! This is an example of how tremendously adept You are to logically verbalize this issue!

ben
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
11 months ago

Miriam, if you don’t want a safe injection site and Council has now decided not to initiate any “Cobourg” action because it seems that a collective decision has been made to let the County handle the problem, what are you going to do about the “backpackers gathering for smokes on King St” because they seem to annoy most of the posters on this Board?

Congratulations to Missy McLean for once again focusing the Town’s attention on a problem that will not go away however many people complain about it. For as a couple of posters have pointed out there are no services to move addicts into. Thank the Provincial Government for that!

Leona Woods
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
11 months ago

Well said, Miriam. You have called out the inaccuracies, and identified the issues involved in the proposed solution (tents for drug consumption). We do have supports in place for those who need them, perhaps not enough of them; perhaps they unable to meet some of the specific needs; perhaps understaffed. I don’t have any solutions, but I am sure that others do. Missy McLean and the Greenwood Coalition are knowledgeable and experienced and need to apply their minds to coming up with workable, creative solutions that will keep everyone safe, and well. Missy needs to stop being a lazy thinker. Nothing is easy. We all want to do better.

ben
Reply to  Leona Woods
11 months ago

Missy needs to stop being a lazy thinker.”

Missy may be a thinker as demonstrated by the action she advocates – definitely not lazy!

Cathy
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
11 months ago

So, what is your solution Miriam? Have you and town council approached the county and David Picinni to work together on finding solutions for these folks? Have you talked with Missy and her team as well as greenwood coalition to find solutions? Have you contacted Peterborough county to work out a possible partnership for the proposed drug treatment center? Or, even a room and NHH to assist those that want to get clean? I think not. I would like to find out more about Missy’s proposal, and I would support it. Look up harm reduction. Would it be better to do nothing, and a child perhaps finding a needle on the street? Would it be staffed with a registered RN or RPN? What about security? All good questions to ask.
Instead of voting yourselves in a raise, perhaps getting to work and finding viable solutions to assist these people and the residents of Cobourg would be better time spent. As well as finding solutions to affordable housing. It’s not just homeless that are struggling, working people are struggling to find accessible affordable housing as well.

Cathy
Reply to  Cathy
11 months ago

Lovely the dislikes thus far, most of you complain and scream, not in my backyard, yet are unwilling to have a good conversation about what needs to be done. Next, will be bus trips for those from away to view these folks.

marya
Reply to  Cathy
11 months ago

Where in the rules of this Blog does it state that one must suggest some suggestible suggestions (suggestions also known as solutions)?

ben
Reply to  marya
11 months ago

Well I would say that if one wants to be taken seriously a comment should not be just a kneejerk reaction, but possibly contribute to a local discussion by putting forward a point of view that could rebutted by another point of view instead of just being a crass, flippant and often ignorant statement!

Last edited 11 months ago by ben
Cathy
Reply to  ben
11 months ago

My comment wasn’t meant to be crass Ben. Nicola Beatty tried passing a bill to make homelessness a crisis in Cobourg and Northumberland County, it was turned down by council members, apparently, because they didn’t want to make waves with the county and David Picinni. Doing nothing and passing the buck creates more problems.

ben
Reply to  Cathy
11 months ago

“Where in the rules of this Blog does it state that one must suggest some suggestible suggestions (suggestions also known as solutions)?”

This was the comment that I classified as crass, flippant or ignorant take your pick! 

marya
Reply to  ben
11 months ago

It is neither crass, flippant or ignorant. The reaction to comments is all too often, “So, what is your solution?”

ben
Reply to  marya
11 months ago

So what is YOUR solution?

Last edited 11 months ago by ben
Cathy
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
11 months ago

That’s great word salad Miriam, but the residents of Cobourg, specifically those of us living in the downtown core, need to feel that we’re being heard and feel safe. Thus far, by town council’s inaction on this issue, it’s a nothing sandwich. Cobourg Police Service have been great, thank you CPS.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
11 months ago

Mirriam Mutton

You have been elected to Town Council for I believe a third time. You know the system, how important decisions are made. You have a voice, you have power.

What are you going to do about solving the addiction, mental health problems in Cobourg?

I believe that if you know about a problem, can do something to solve the problem, but do nothing … then you become part of the problem.

Cathy
Reply to  Keith Oliver
11 months ago

Well said Keith

Give me a break
Reply to  Keith Oliver
11 months ago

Keith …. What would you suggest? To be fair when Miriam was on Council this problem didn’t exist to the point it is today …. Besides Miriam is not a mental Health Expert ….. if some of the folks downtown want to help or those on this site criticizing folks on Councilln.. how about offering a place for a homeless person to stay at your home or pitch their tent in your backyard.

Moxy
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
11 months ago

Miriam, your lack of compassion as a local politician is why I didn’t vote for you in the last election. Unsheltered people are in that situation for complex reasons: mental health problems, addiction problems and the lack of local and provincial services and affordable housing. Canadian society is in a crisis because of all the social issues and inequalities brought to the forefront by the pandemic. Your blame the victim attitude will help no one.

concerned townie
Reply to  Moxy
11 months ago

Pain is created by addictions. Addiction and counselling resources are needed. I learned recently that the reason shelters remain empty is because people with untreated mental illness cannot cope with the added disruptions of people in shelters, as the various outbursts only make them more agitated, hence their reluctance to go into the shelter and stay on the streets. People need a place to go for treatment. We cannot let up on this. We need to find a solution to help these people. Human compassion and caring is needed. The County and area municipalities cannot hide their head in the sand on this issue any longer. This is an outrage to treat our fellow man/woman like this. We treat our pets better.

Gerinator
Reply to  concerned townie
11 months ago

Are you suggesting that “untreated mental illness cannot cope with the added disruptions of people in shelters, as the various outbursts only make them more agitated, hence their reluctance to go into the shelter and stay on the streets.” that there be a tailored solution for EVERY affliction out there? This is not possible in any persons world.

Lois
Reply to  Moxy
11 months ago

Shaming people into silence is not a solution to the problem. Comments that I’ve read are concerned citizens trying to find solutions to the homeless problems and also for our citizens safety. Telling people they have no compassion solves no problems. It actually causes problems.

Informed
Reply to  Moxy
11 months ago

I’ll vote for Miriam next time because of her comments. We don’t need a council to bend to special interest groups at the detriment of all others because of peer pressure and optics. I would sooner erect tents temporarily with mental health workers assisting people that want to help themselves and have no idea how to get started.

Bill Zeran
Reply to  Informed
11 months ago

I have been notified that most of the homeless downtown are children from adults living in Cobourg for years. Why not ask the parents to take them back?

Heartbreaking for all
Reply to  Bill Zeran
11 months ago

It’s likely the parents have rules about substance use in their homes.

Informed
Reply to  Bill Zeran
11 months ago

I believe that if support services are set up for an individual then hopefully parents could be part of that process. Maybe some could be reconnected with parents at some point. I don’t believe that a lot of the homeless here have parents in Cobourg. I believe that if a safe injection site is set up then we will have an influx of people arrive from Durham, Peterborough etc to compound the problem.

Last edited 11 months ago by Informed
Informed
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
11 months ago

These tents should be removed on day 1