Northumberland County Council – Cobourg Resident Extends Brookside Pleas Beyond Town Borders

In City Hall

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Not content to present his plea to the Town of Cobourg or Infrastructure Ontario alone, Cobourg home owner R, Keith Simpson has addressed his angst over the Brookside encampment to “Cobourg Police, Cobourg Town Council, Northumberland County Council, MPP Piccini, Infrastructure Ontario, MP Lawrence, the Press, Fellow Citizens and others.”

Though Simpson’s letter was received for information following its appearance on the agenda of this week’s meeting of the Northumberland County council Social Services Committee, Councillor Mandy Martin asked that it at least be acknowledged.

Simpson and his wife came to Cobourg nine years ago as seniors, enjoying the privilege of feeling safe, walking downtown at night, even “promoting the friendly ambience of our chosen town.”

Fast-forward to what he terms “our new normal,” where “a large proportion of Cobourg residents are being held hostage by a disproportionately small number of unfortunate folks (to whom societal rules apparently don’t apply).”

Simpson has heard of realtors advising residents in the vicinity of the former Brookside Youth Centre “that their properties, if at all salable, have diminished in value. Why are they expected to bear that loss?” he wondered.

“Folks are being hassled and threatened, Drug abuse, discarded paraphernalia, petty crime, trespassing and the resultant demand for emergency services are increasing. Students of three nearby schools are at risk. Businesses are being adversely impacted. The quality of life has eroded. Cobourg’s reputation as ‘the feel good town’ has suffered. Are we not the real victims here? What is to be done to reclaim our town?”

Simpson quoted Cobourg Mayor Lucas Cleveland’s insistence that all four levels of government are on the same bus, but noted that the bus is going nowhere. Piccini “appears to talk tough, but what has he accomplished? As a Minister, he seems preoccupied with other issues.” Infrastructure Ontario is protecting its building “at considerable taxpayer’s expense,” but doing nothing about the squatters on its property. And MP Lawrence “appears to want little part of this local problem.”

“Predictively, some frustrated locals are advocating egregious self-help reprisals,” he said, declining to give specifics.

“I would like to see this letter responded to, even if it’s out of politeness,” Martin requested.

“He has taken a great deal of care putting his thoughts together.”

The motion to receive the letter for information was amended to add that it should also be acknowledged.

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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