Editorial – Encampment Tour Makes Three Week Stop at Brookside Resort

In Editorial
What is happening at the former Brookside Youth Centre?
Infrastructure Ontario is now in charge of the facility – or resort at the moment.
Tents handed out freely, nestled beside a creek in a beautifully well kept area of Cobourg.
Three weeks the encampment has been there with no signs of moving.
Questions to Infrastructure Ontario are deflected faster NHL goalie makes a save.
Today’s Northumberland reached out to Jeff Giffen who is Communications Manager with Infrastructure Ontario.
Giffen refused a telephone interview and would only take written questions in a e-mail.
Amazing how a reporter can reach out to the actual Premier who is running the entire Province of Ontario, but the actual communications manager with a department can’t seem to face the media himself.
Looking up the Public Sector Salary for 2022 there is a Jeff Giffen who sector it says is Crown Agencies who earned a tidy $126, 375.19.
Not bad for answering e-mails.
Today’s Northumberland sent Giffen these questions:
· What level is the encampment at, at this point at the former Brookside youth centre in Cobourg?
· The encampment residents have been given two orders essentially stating they are trespassing.
· Why haven’t the notices been enforced.
· Also. There seems to be more security around Brookside than there was when it was a youth facility.
· Atv’s patrolling the outside perimeter, guards walking around the inside perimeter.
· Any information may help ease the residents concerns regarding the length of time the encampment will remain.
· Another note. They have just put up a fence around the main building outside the facility. Just wondering if you could explain that as well.
Giffen said he would reply within 24-hours – he didn’t, but we did receive a general e-mail on Saturday.
“We are aware that there have been a number of tents and individuals on site for approximately three weeks. It is difficult for us to know how many at any given time, due to the status changing regularly. As manager of the property on behalf of the government, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) initiated its standard process and protocols to manage the situation safely. We’ve been working with relevant provincial ministries and community partners such as the County of Northumberland, Town of Cobourg and Cobourg Police.”
Given the e-mail was sent on a Saturday, we can only hope Giffen wasn’t paid any overtime for the standard response that said absolutely nothing.
Behind the scenes, Today’s Northumberland has learned a few things.
Although MPP David Piccini couldn’t be reached for comment, sources have said he is extremely frustrated with the situation.
Government officials have gone to neighbouring schools to enquire if there has been any issues with the encampment and students.  Principals have stated there have been no issues.
Another question is finding an exact number of people in the encampment.
It can and does fluctuate, but are the people using the encampment really in need of it?
A Cobourg councillor’s 18-year-old daughter regularly stays at the encampment when comes home from school on the weekend.
The kicker is, there were 12 spaces available in the shelter system last week.  That number also fluctuates.
That number comes directly from Northumberland County.
Housing 12 people certainly won’t solve the problem, but it’s a start.
Finding who actually needs housing and who doesn’t like the colour of their room are two vastly different things.
There are problems with the system – many.  But finding people who are in real need of help and separating them from the game players is becoming more difficult.
But if you are offered a place and choose not to take it – that’s your decision.  But don’t bleed the taxpayers dry because you don’t like to the colour of your room.
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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