Letter to the Editor: Reader Pleads with Province to Relocate Residents of Transition House

In Letter to Editor
VIA FAX       Premier Douglas Ford
VIA EMAIL  Premier Douglas Ford
                     MPP David Piccini
                     Mayor Cleveland and,
                     Cobourg Council 
Dear Premier Ford,
Dear Mr. Piccini,
Dear mayor Cleveland and, Cobourg Council,
My name is Johanne Loken, I am a Cobourg property owner and a House Tour fundraiser. I live in the second biggest historic district, per capita in our country. 
I wish to bring to your attention our Transition House, sis 10 Chapel street, a first class heritage property (known as the Richard Pomeroy House c.1849, a fine Georgian house detailed with Greek revival, with a summer porch)
Strangely enough the Town never tried to protect or question the historic fabric, stories, cultural value or interests of this lovely home, located in the heart of our Town. After the County’s purchase, it became fait accompli, a backroom deal.
The only meeting with their director and staff happened three years ago.We left under the impression that a “few hours a day” was their plan to shelter homeless and addicted people. Their evergrowing “clientèle” has trespassed on our properties shooting drugs, never stopped loitering ever since. Today our letters, few in number, are made public through our Town news blog known as John Draper, our Chief of Police, and the Today’s Northumberland on line. It is reflecting our daily lives and affecting a few thousand people.
This winter some homeowners had 85,000.00$ worth of collateral damage and spent another 65,000.00$ on worthless security upgrades recommended by the police. Our private security cameras recorded vandalism, acts of gross indecency and more. In the interim we had two shootings, one drug related murder in our core. Women miss walking safely and, for that reason we self impose a curfew. Women need to be escorted in the heart of the Town. And as women we are humiliated to have lost our freedom and other important rights..
Since Transition House our property value has been undermined and devalued by 25%. Consequently County labelled Transition House unfavourably with a property stigma devaluing highly properties, part of our heritage district designation² formerly requested by the Town. In addition our high taxes are increasing and we lost the income from our Heritage House Tours as community fundraisers.
Public squats are now burgeoning, squatters are congregating in tents, overdosing in front of our cafés. Their irrationality and behaviour causing havoc are showing a true misery from the pain they inflict themselves. During Covid Transition House had 5 people, as of April 4th 2023, our auxiliary police counted 160+ squatters. Their reach has gone far beyond Transition House into many city blocks in the surrounding neighbourhood. The original agreement is no longer reflecting the current crisis and is not an ironclad contract.
Proposed scenario by many. The County owns the Old Golden Plough³ a reliable after war house of refugees ensconced atop a hill in a discrete semi rural setting (near adapted mental health services and Northumberland Hills Hospital). If County cannot offer one proper space 24/7 and provide professional mental health services, Cobourg should not have on display untreated mental health patients publicly on their streets⁴.
In this social failure we are suffering harmful impacts of invasion emotionally, physically and financially. The majority of women, unlike men, recently demanded publicly at a police meeting, to secure their safety, fostering “free from harm and risks” in a much more progressive  way.
For the good of our general  welfare, all women and their family are appealing to you Premier Ford, and the entourage of minister David Piccini, to assist us in relocating Transition House without harming others.
Johanne Loken
Cobourg Councillor 1994-97 
Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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