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
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.
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.
- Police Board meeting Agenda on Escribe – for 21 March, 2023