Last week, community members who live in the Albert Street, East and Blucher street area met with Councillor Luke Dufour and a representative of Sault Police Services at a resident’s home.
The community members wanted to share their collective frustrations in the local crime level, dropped needles and garbage which is plaguing their neighbourhood.
Community members traced it back to multiple homes in the area which are alleged to either be dealing drugs or are abandoned and being used as temporary housing for homeless.
“I don’t care how we are helping all of these bad people, I want someone to say, yes you are going through hell, and you don’t get that,” said one of the residents. “We’re the ones that get told, oh you know, we got a resource for them, we’ve opened a grocery store… I don’t care, I want to know how you are going to help us.”
Dufour advised that specific resident that, although it has taken almost a year, many of his issues have been rectified by city by-law, and he then spent time explaining why it took so long. He points to lack of by-law enforcement officers and a backlog in the legal department which is only going to get worse since these by-laws have been given more powers recently.
He believes much of the problem could have been rectified in a motion he put forward a few months ago, asking for more help in those departments.
“The by-law enforcement officer was $55,000 and adding to the legal department was going to cost around $120,000 to add another lawyer for the city,” said Dufour recalling the motion he put before council. The motion to hire these individuals was defeated.
Citizens were encouraged to reach out to all the councillors with their concerns about living in the core, as some of them are less affected by the issues than others, with the hopes votes may change in the future.
Those gathered thought the meeting was productive and hope to do it again in the future.
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