Letter to the Editor – When Is Action Going to Be Taken at Encampment?

In Letter to Editor, Local
Infrastructure Ontario/ David Piccini – Upon further investigation, I have been made aware that the land at the Youth Detention Center on King Street East in Cobourg is owned by the province of Ontario, and managed by Infrastructure Ontario. To my understanding in order for the police to take action to disband the encampment at this location, they are waiting for IO’s authorization. IO should be liasioning with Cobourg Police to take down this encampment in short order, as it is compromising the safety and well being of the community, and it is owned ultimately by the taxpayers of Ontario. When is the authorization going to be given by IO for municipal law enforcement to take down this encampment? David Piccini – as our MPP, you should be driving IO ownership on your end to expedite this process.
Mayor Cleveland – Although the land is owned by the province, this area is still within your community and jurisdiction that you have the authority and onus to ensure municipal by-laws are upheld. By-law infractions and tickets should be given to Infrastructure Ontario due to the negligent state of the property. If my front lawn looked like that encampment site, I would be ticketed, so why am I being upheld to a different standard than other citizens? I understand a building has been purchased with 44 beds to house the folks at the encampment site, when is this expected to take place. I want (1) a name for who is accountable, and (2) an action plan with dates as to when the community can expect this to be officially in service.
 
At this point, I am going to begin leveraging other community members (Cobourg Neighborhood Crime Watch, No Hard Drugs Cobourg, Northumberland Today News outlets) to ensure action is taken by Cobourg City Council, Infrastructure Ontario, and the province of Ontario. Once again, if nothing is done, I will be supporting the idea of crowd funding a lawyer to  take legal action against the city as our rights are not being upheld. 
Dear Cobourg City Counsel,

My name is Cynthia Larocque, a young professional, and citizen of Cobourg. I happily moved to this charming town over three years ago, and until recently, never doubted my decision. I am emailing the City Council today due to the absolute embarrassment of the homeless encampments seen all over the city, and what appears to be lack of any plan or action by the city to resolve this issue. The encampment site that has ballooned over the last few months at the former youth detention centre property on King Street East needs to be addressed, and it is the direct responsibility of the City Council to take accountability and action. 
 
My home is within a 5 minute walk to this encampment, and it is outrageous that there has been no development or progress to address the issue since the late summer. If anything, the situation at that particular location appears to be getting worse (wood crates are now poised there for fire burning, garbage is collecting, tents and banners are established, etc). There have been numerous news articles written about it, as it continues to be a public health and safety issue for local citizens, and yet, I have seen zero improvement at this location. As an avid runner, it is discouraging that I feel unsafe as a female running alone in certain areas of our city. As a tax paying citizen, I should not feel unsafe walking in any part of this city, be exposed to heckling, or have to watch people openly abuse drugs at bus shelters. 
 
I am emailing you because I think it needs reminding that the people of the city elected you to act as public servants and do what is best for society. As such, it is your obligation to make hard and unpopular decisions for the greater population of the city. I feel as though there is zero action that has been taken due to the fear of appearing unsympathetic or appearing socially unjust. The injustice is being afraid to take action against the illegal demands of a few due to your own self interest to remain popular as a public official, at the expense of your law-abiding citizens and their safety. 
 
I can easily say that what you choose to do over the next few weeks (months is too long) will directly affect my decision making as to whether I will want to stay in this community. My partner and I will not tolerate the lack of accountability to have a safe community for our future family, and we will leave. 
 
From this email; I would like a response from the City Council providing a clear action plan with timelines as to how you plan on eradicating the encampment that is on King St (and others across the city); and the measures that will be put in place to prevent this issue from manifesting again in the future. 
 
I have sat back and watched for months, and the issue is only getting worse. I am disappointed in your lack of ownership towards this issue. I have included the Cobourg Police Services Board, Member of Parliament and Member of Provincial Parliament to this email. If I see no development in resolving this issue, I absolutely plan on attending a City Council meeting in the near future to drive accountability.
 
Awaiting your response,
 
Cynthia Larocque
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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