Video – Editorial – Cobourg Needs to Stop Dancing With the Devil (aka Infrastructure Ontario)

In Editorial

In over 30 years of covering the good, the bad and the ugly never has one story put the fear into officials like this one.

From Royalty, to names like Bernardo and Williams. They had the national attention, but people spoke about them without fear.

Mention the word “encampment” to any town official or above and don’t be surprised if the only sound you hear is crickets.

From the top down, from Infrastructure Ontario, to the Town of Cobourg – people are scared.

Really when it boils down to it, the only thing they should be scared of is the liability when someone gets killed or seriously hurt at the encampment at the former Brookside Youth Centre that has been there for months with no sign of going anywhere.

From what Today’s Northumberland has witnessed in the last several days at the encampment – for all intense purposes if there was any good points about being there – like the warm weather, they are gone now.

The place is nothing short of a liability.

Last week there were fires in two separate tents that were clearly visible from the road.

Due to the size of the flame inside one of the tents, Today’s Northumberland checked on the occupant. The woman stated she was using sanitizer for a brief period of time inside the tent.

Other’s have said, encampment residents warm up rocks and put them in sleeping bags. It’s a given, other’s use fire as a heat source as well.

A quick Google search about encampment fires brings up numerous fires at various encampments around the province including Peterborough and Toronto.

To help insulate the tents and maybe even to hide the flames, there are tents covered in tents at the encampment. It would make it hard to spot the fire until it broke out of the tent and became visible. By that time, it may be to late to save the person inside.

A propane cylinder was visible amongst the tents. Almost any reason for its use at the encampment would be illegal and possibly deadly, but there it sits.

On Monday, November 27, 2023 a person was dropping off wooden pallets at the encampment.

On first glace one might think the pallets are for burning and that is likely true.

But taking a look at the tents a number of them have pallets under them keeping them off the ground.

Over a month ago, a porta-potty was brought in and before it was set up, security told them they weren’t allowed to have it there Today’s Northumberland was told.

With more and more tents, equaling more and more people, how the encampment cannot be declared a health hazard is one of the questions that resonates.

Where is the health unit through all of this?

Unless they are helping at the North Pole, they should also be held accountable as once again, like during COVID times they are AWOL

The good news – two Cobourg Police officers were paid by the Province today to watch over as once again the encampment area was cleaned of the garbage.

At least three van loads of garbage, maybe more were removed from the area where the garbage was piled.

From fruit that used to be fresh, to likely an entire shopping cart full of unopened cans of food to other items – it was there. Even tents, medicine inhalers that weren’t empty and of course shopping carts.

Any possible “good” that could have come out of the encampment is long gone. It needs to go as soon as possible.

With the dangers that can be clearly spotted by anyone, it’s not only an eyesore, but a liability.

Members of the Town of Cobourg didn’t wish to comment stating a release would be coming out later in the week and they also need to be held accountable.

Cobourg Police are the exception. They are doing what they can as best they can.

Assuming the Province of Ontario has something to do with Infrastructure Ontario, with the sincerest of intentions – the media department at Infrastructure Ontario should be dismissed.

In requests to actually speak with someone – it never happens.

In fact – you e-mail questions to a “media” address.  No names, just a “media” e-mail.

Most of the times, no matter how specific the request is, it comes back generic.

Today’s Northumberland asked, “Why can’t the individuals be removed given the land they are on is private property?”

A day later the generic response came back, “The province continues to be engaged with the County of Northumberland and the Town of Cobourg, including police and fire authorities,” but they never answered the question.

This type of response doesn’t cut it, the people of Cobourg shouldn’t have to accept it.

And frankly the closed door meetings with Infrastructure Ontario the town has been having should also stop – immediately.

If you’re dancing with the devil – you’re part of the problem – not the solution.

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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