By all appearances it looks like the Brookside Resort is here for the long haul.
The “encampment” which has been situated at the front of the former Brookside Youth Centre has been there for coming up to two-months.
There are mixed views on the “resort” located in the east end of Cobourg.
Most people don’t want it – a few people and groups do.
Social workers and others are there regularly to try and assist people.
The Warming Room is now open during the evening, Transition House regularly has space, but individuals still seem to enjoy the comforts of the “resort.”
Who could blame them?
A beautiful lawn, the Province has now hired people to come clean the area regularly from Kingston, food and supplies are brought in to the encampment on a regular basis, tents are provided free of charge, transportation doesn’t seem to be a problem with many bicycles in and around the area. In fact, Cobourg Police were so kind as to pick up five bicycles that appeared to have been stolen, but were magically dropped off at the resort.
Things are even getting better for the guests at the resort.
Paid security (once again by the Province) has upped the ante and are questioning people coming on to the property and what their purpose is.
When this reporter stopped along the roadway briefly to take a photo of regulations posted by the Cobourg Fire Department, security came out of the former guard house quicker then Ben Johnson out of the starting blocks.
“Can we help you,” they asked.
Politely saying “no”, they asked my reason for being there and a few other questions.
Telling me that I’d parked in a clearly marked “fire zone” I stated if it helped I’d park on the other side of the driveway.
Even though that wasn’t marked as such, they educated me that even though there isn’t a sign stating it is a fire route – by-law could charge myself.
During the interaction, another person walked up and asked security if he could donate items to the resort.
Again, security was polite informing him that he could take it to the encampment or if he wasn’t comfortable they would take the items.
Speaking to friends after I’d left, one person said it best – “the hypocrisy of enforcement of the law.”
Exact numbers aren’t known, but let’s say there are 25-50 people staying onsite at the resort/encampment.
Signs are posted about trespassing and have been for days, weeks and likely over a month.
Sweet bugger all has been done about it.
But one reporter in a car stops for a few seconds to take a photo of a sign, and security responds.
Let’s lay the blame where it needs to be. It goes without saying that security has been told to be more vocal etc. Never have they ever said a word without being asked. Today was totally different.
Serious questions need to be raised to Infrastructure Ontario, but it would likely be easier getting hold of the Premier than it would be actually speaking to anyone from Infrastructure Ontario.
The “resort” is costing taxpayers money. Hiring a clean-up crew to regularly come in from Kingston, 24-hour-a-day security to name just a few.
Now, it looks like the guests may be at Brookside Resort for awhile.
Earlier this week a wood stove was brought into one of the tents and is being used.
Speaking with Cobourg Fire Chief Ellard Beaven he confirmed there is at least one inside the encampment.
Periodically fire officials go in just to ensure everyone is following regulations under the fire code.
Fire officials saw the wood stove and open air burning at the encampment.
Because of a by-law there is no open air burning within the town limits of Cobourg without permission from the owner of the property.
Encampment (resort) residents were notified there is no open air burning allowed.
But the wood stove is different.
“As long as it complies with the manufacturers recommendations and the fire code we will allow it because it is not our property,” said Chief Beaven.
It (tent) is intended for a wood stove. It’s a tent that can be utilized for all four seasons, so we’re restricted and we don’t have the ability under the Fire Code to remove it.”