SaultOnline submitted three Freedom of Information Requests (FOI’s) at City Hall on October 27, 2021, for documentation in hopes of learning what advocating has been done by the municipality to date for funding and supports to address the ongoing addictions and mental health crisis in our community.
During a recent protest at City Hall, numerous parties were witnessed making claims and hurling accusations with regards to advocating for funding and treatment of mental health and addictions in Sault Ste. Marie.
Mayor Christian Provenzano and Council are on the record as stating that it is the number one issue that they hear about in their respective positions. They are also on the record as stating that they have, and continue to, petition the Provincial government frequently for money to help fund the services our community needs to address these issues.
Over the past year, we have also heard the community express their frustrations and anger about crime, homelessness and substance abuse.
The documents that were requested on October 27th will hopefully provide some clarity as to where the City’s priorities lie when it comes to these issues.
Of paramount interest within these documents are details pertaining to a meeting that took place in December of 2019, at which time City officials sat down with Provincial representatives. SaultOnline has requested all documentation from that meeting, including a document which we obtained and published in an earlier story.
In a separate FOI, we requested all documentation and communications between the City and the Province regarding addictions and mental health within our community.
A third asked for all the documentation detailing communications between the City and the Province regarding the Downtown Plaza, for comparison purposes.
Addictions and Mental Health Advocates, along with others in our community, believe that the Plaza has come before the needs of the more vulnerable people in our population. Our series on Mental Health, Addictions and Homelessness is attempting to shed some light on whether or not there is any truth to this as well as other claims.
The standard timeline is for the City to provide documents requested under a FOI request is within 30 days, however, this waiting period has now been extended another 45 days pushing any answers to questions sought into the new year.
As per our ongoing commitment to the community, as soon as information becomes available through the appropriate means of sourcing, we will make effort possible to make that information available to viewers.
We appreciate you staying with SaultOnline and ONNTV as we continue to answer the questions citizens have of our government.