Police Chief reports on Encampment

It’s not known why Police don’t issue useful reports on what’s happening with the homeless encampment but as reported on Pete Fisher’s web site, occasionally Police Chief Paul VandeGraaf does report to interested groups. On May 8, the Chief spoke to residents at Retirement home Palisade Gardens which is not far from the encampment. Pete’s report is long and comprehensive and I recommend reading it (see Resources below) but I will report on the highlights. Chief VandeGraaf spoke about no longer feeling safe downtown, is there in fact more crime now, why don’t Police kick people out of the encampment, why aren’t people who are acting crazy arrested, what’s happening with the Dynamic Patrol and more about the shopping cart roundup.

Highlights of Police report

  • Violent crime (in Cobourg) was mostly people who commit assaults on people they know. It is “not people walking down the street and robbing somebody who they don’t know.”
  • VandeGraaf said, he’s been told many times that police should kick them out of the encampment. “And I would love to.” “But there is this decision that you’ve probably read about out of Waterloo Region.” VandeGraaf told the group he didn’t go to law school, but, “it’s a bad decision.” The Waterloo decision says that police can’t move anyone from an encampment, “unless I have a permanent place for them to go.” “Doing such I’m breaching their Charter of Rights.”
  • Dealing with someone who is yelling and “acting crazy,” simply put, “there is no offence for that.” “It’s annoying, it’s scary, it makes you feel afraid.”
  • Starting May 1, the Dynamic Patrol was initiated and part of it deals with zero tolerance for arrestable behaviour in the downtown. “Over the last three days this week, there were four people arrested for their behaviour in the downtown.”
  • Since initiating the Dynamic Patrols there have been three arrests for simple possession. Police have also increased foot patrols through the encampment.
  • “But I’m here to say that we recognize that you’re not feeling safe sometimes. But I also want to recognize that Cobourg is a safe place.” “But it’s never going to be the way it was – those days are gone.”
  • VandeGraaf said there was a time that if you broke the law with a serious crime and went to bail court, you weren’t released if you didn’t have an address. And you would remain in jail until your trial. “Now they release everybody. Even if you don’t have an address.”
  • VandeGraaf also spoke about the shopping cart roundup taking place this week. Police have a trailer and will be rounding up the shopping carts and taking them back to the stores. “After that when my officers see you with a shopping cart, you’ll be arrested for possession property.”

I recommend reading the full report on Pete’s web site – it has more details.

Post Script

Late Friday morning (17 May), Chief VandeGraaf issued a Press Release with 4 statements:

Resources

Cobourg Blog Report

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Kevin
9 days ago

I wonder how the new fence will impact the encampment? What is it for? Shopping cart ownership can be checked at the main gate which will help with that issue. Maybe it is to stop more people from moving in. No doubt some people will have an issue with the fence because it restricts people coming and going. It also prevent people from using much of the green space for walking their dogs. It is part of the price we have to pay, along with the cost of the fence, to control movements of a small portion of the community.

Leslie
Reply to  Kevin
9 days ago

Kevin, my hope is because they are dealing with an offer right now. Perhaps a serious offer, hence preparing with a fence?

Kevin
Reply to  Leslie
9 days ago

Leslie, I think you are right, they are dealing with offers and may be close to being sold. An Obvious question, “where will the encampment go?” 310 Division is not ready. There is much green space around the GWC Hive but it is mostly on a hill, not good for setting up tents.
https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2024/06/13/video-fence-goes-up-at-cobourg-encampment-as-infrastructure-ontario-deals-with-offer/

Last edited 9 days ago by Kevin
Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  Leslie
8 days ago

It’s hard to imagine a purchaser who would close on a deal with that encampment anywhere in the vicinity.

Sonya
1 month ago

To Ben Burd and Linda MacKenzie Nicholas

You both incessantly ask ” what is your solution ?”

The truth is that acknowledging that drugs are the problem in Cobourg. NOT housing or homelessness.
I am not a policy maker , Politician, Police officer, or professional “Social Worker.”
We pay taxes for these professional people’s salaries to come to a “solution.”
But if you deny the TRUTH that the problem is DRUGS –nothing will ever be solved. As well, if drug addicts do not want to be honest with themselves and acknowledge that TRUTH and accept help, they will not be saved.

Catherine
Reply to  Sonya
1 month ago

And most would agree the down on their luck (where drugs are not the issue) should be housed immediately. Tough times for sure – but the encampment issue is a drug and lawlessness issue. Not a housing issue.

Sonya
Reply to  Catherine
30 days ago

I agree.

Sandy
Reply to  Catherine
30 days ago

Agree. Can we weed out the criminals and drug addicts so that we can focus on the people down on their luck and victims of sky high rents, people who want to work and contribute.

Catherine
Reply to  Sandy
30 days ago

I’m hearing a lot have already accepted the offers of help from social services- but yes that would be great. I feel like this community would line up to help those in desperate need of shelter and food that are just victims of this post Covid climate. The criminals need to be locked up asap for their sake and ours. The ones that are severely mentally ill need to get treatment asap. And I r said this before – there is funding for this considering the encampment costs around 250k per month to taxpayers. Shut it down and use those funds.

Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Reply to  Sonya
16 days ago

are you serious? – Affordable housing is a definite problem in here. Waitlists for housing are ten years long…

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
16 days ago

Linda, how long is the waitlist for a job? I see help wanted posts everywhere.

Leslie
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
16 days ago

Post and comment is about Encampment. Drugs are the problem at the Encampment. Not Housing.

Kevin
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
16 days ago

Linda, some of these people had housing, they destroyed it. Just providing housing is not going to solve anything. There is no reason to believe new housing will not be destroyed if these people remain drug addicts. Have you even seen the conditions inside the drug houses that were closed? The quality of the mattresses may be an issue for somebody who was staying at Transition House but more likely that was an excuse to not follow TH rules. Needing more subsidized housing is an excuse to remain on drugs and live in a tent. The condition in the encampment are likely better than thousands of young Canadians had to face 80 years ago. Many never returned. I wonder what those young soldiers would think of the people in the encampment. They fought for our freedom not for the right to live in subsidized housing and do drugs.

NAI
1 month ago

Linda made a comment along the lines of jails are not the solution. I was unable to reply to her post – so apologies for starting a different thread…..

If someone knowingly commits a crime, and if they grew up in Canada they ought to know that criminal behaviour has consequences, then why not enforce those consequences? I applaud your desire to be empathetic and support those who truly want help but the reality is – the encampment people were offered solutions but they were not the solutions they wanted – so here we are.

In my view, they are breaking the law and had we had a government that enforces rule of law as opposed to some far fetched utopian/dystopian desire that hopes for the good of everyone to smother the bad human nature that is the true face of people, we wouldn’t be here in the first place.

Employment opportunities exist in Cobourg and Port Hope. They don’t want to work. Fine, don’t. But don’t expect handouts either.

While I respect Linda’s perspective, I do not share it.

Kevin
1 month ago

Lots of strong opinions in the comments without any solutions that are likely to work. Linda wants tiny homes or sleeping cabins built. Instead of going to work tomorrow we could all go to a lumber yard and start building, then what? We could put up enough sleeping cabins in a day for the usual number of people in the encampment. Would crime go down, would drug use go down, would high school students stop using drugs? Depending on where we build the cabins high school students may not be able to visit them during the school day but somebody would still supply the school. The police report may not be much different, just the location of the problems. The Finland model of housing first includes more than just supplying housing and they still have homeless people. Kingston is shutting down its sleeping cabins which “…currently houses 17 people and employs eight workers.”

It is not easy to admit to making a mistake, especially when the mistake is so big and killing people. In my opinion legalizing cannabis has normalized drug use increasing use of cannabis and hard drugs. This is part of the drug crisis. Part of the solution is to reverse decisions. BC and places in the US are doing it.

Do you not believe that so many people can be wrong? Look at what is happening with young children and the transgender issue. Google Mia Hughes and watch the recent video or read about how Jazz Jennings had his penis cut apart and inserted in a hole to change his gender. Children are not being helped, they are being mutilated. The result is being non-fertile and non-sexually functional. People, large numbers of people, can be wrong.

How can people from places like India come to this country, find places to live and jobs? A couple of days ago a foreign student asked me to help him find work, for cash. He is only allowed so many hours legally and wants more. If there is work and housing for foreign students then Canadians should also be able to find it. But how can somebody work if they are addicted to drugs? There needs to be a way to get addicts clean. Without this step no amount of housing will make much difference. And our police chief will continue to disappoint because he doesn’t know what to do.

Cathy
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

The problem isn’t cannabis. A good majority of folks going up north are seniors, imagine that. What Northumberland county does need is a publicly funded detox/rehab center to get these people back on track.

Frenchy
Reply to  Cathy
1 month ago

Cathy, couple of things…

  • “The problem isn’t cannabis” Kevin didn’t say the problem was cannabis but rather “legalizing cannabis”, creating a somewhat laissez faire attitude towards drugs in general.
  • “folks going up north are seniors” Maybe I’m just old and out of touch, but what does the phrase “going up north” mean?
Pete M
Reply to  Frenchy
1 month ago

Going up north— going to Alderville FN

Pete M
1 month ago

From The CPS Board Meeting April 16/24

CHAIR’S MONTHLY BRIEF Board Chair Ron Kerr – Address – March 19, 2024 Board Meeting Welcome to the Cobourg Police Services Board Meeting. It is a time of reflection and action as we confront the pressing issue of homelessness within our community. As 310 Division remains a point of discussion and deliberation in our community, our police service members remain steadfast in their role, supporting agencies dedicated to providing care and assistance to those affected while maintaining a consistent application of the law and a measured response to calls for service. The board continues to advocate for and contribute to the safety and well-being of every community member by supporting Chief VandeGraaf’s vision to lead in collaborative initiatives and have collaborative spaces for partners to come together for solutions. Let us continue to focus on enhancing community safety, fostering collaborative partnerships, and ensuring transparent governance. We are dedicated to progress and accountability in all our endeavours.

In light of the Chief’s address at Palisades, has lead of collaborative initiatives brought solutions?

Has The Chief and Boards efforts enhanced community, when people continue to say they don’t feel safe, when people say they avoid going downtown-because they are either in fear or just tried of witnessing people acting out due to drug induced behaviours.

Has the Service been Transparent with the Community as a whole? Just take a look at the first line of this post by John D-” It’s not known why Police don’t issue useful reports on what’s happening with the homeless encampment…”

Which leads us to the last line of Mr. Kerr’s statement- ” We are dedicated to progress and accountability in all our endeavours.”

Whats the accountability- when the Chief guarantees residents property is being stolen or just “borrowed “. When the community says we are afraid, when the community says we are exhausted of living and, experiencing this daily,

Ben
Reply to  Pete M
1 month ago

 When the community says we are afraid, when the community says we are exhausted of living and, experiencing this daily,”

 So I ask again Pete M, what is your solution, enough bitching put up solutions!

Pete M
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

The “Waterloo Decision” states housing has to be provided. If housing offers have been provided and refused. Then document those and why the refusal. Document the incidents of health and safety- fires rats filth and incidents of drug use and overdose. Document the impact the on the creek and environment.
Find a good Toronto law firm and begin the process of an injunction for removal.

Speak to other communities that have and are experiencing the same. Find out what has worked to remove the encampments or at least contain and better supervise and manage the crime and drugs.

Identify and go after the dealers who keep the supply goingpreventing these people from ever having a chance of getting a leg up.

Call out and challenge these groups that are suppose to be helping these people , to actually help.These groups need to Demonstrate they are doing something by providing monthly updates how many they have helped into addiction counselling mental health, treatment, housing.

These groups need to stop using them as pawns to further their on agendas.

Enforce the laws. Cobourg is a generous community.. But thefts assaults anti- social behaviour will not be accepted. If your found in breach ur held accountable, whether thru fines or court appearances.

Aleta
Reply to  Pete M
1 month ago

I think you have great ideas and wish that someone would follow through on some! I sincerely believe that there is more that could be done by the “leaders” if they had the conviction to try.

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

Fire the chief and board and start fresh by amalgamating with Port Hope or forming a new county police FORCE or OPP. This current crew has been given too long to prove themselves and they have failed. Weak policing is one of the reasons Cobourg is in a chaotic mess. Why the sudden slight effort to actually enforce anything? Oh wait we know, the chief wants a new building and many more officers. NO WAY, the taxpayers have to have a say.

Mervin
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

Solutions; Enforce bylaws, stigmatize drug use, remove charity status from community organizations that enable drug abuse and criminal activity, give lengthy prison sentences to drug dealers (if fentanyl is a leading cause of death maybe those caught selling should be charged with manslaughter)….

The solution is most definitely not, giving people better housing because they’ve destroyed all the other places they’ve lived, or lowering the standard of what a healthy community looks like.

Why do you keep ignoring the obvious? There are a thousand solutions better than the current approach

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Pete M
1 month ago

PeteM, Mr. Kerr’s remarks seem clear:
The goal of our $7.5M per year CPS should be to collaborate with the enablers to improve the lives of addicts and other criminals rather than to ensure the safety of residents and their property. Initiatives such as Homeless Addiction Resource Project (HARP) and retrieving shopping carts are the way to address our community’s concerns.

Rational
1 month ago

There have been comments about parking.

Now as it relates to the Encampment the Town’s By Law 048-2023 states that “No person shall park or leave any vehicle on private property with out permission of the owner or occupant of the property” (7 – a). IO own the property so have they given permission for the enablers to come on the property to do what ever it is they do? The occupants have been give trespassing notices so they can’t decide.

It also follows that a 12 hour parking time limit is in place with this By – Law. Is it being enforced as it relates to Encampment visitors? To Brock Rd. S.? Both By Law and now CPS have experience in enforcing this as the Police Chief sent officers to Bewdley this weekend to enforce parking infractions.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Sonya
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

There are no cars allowed parking at the encampment. It’s a fire route. As you know EMS are there daily.
That is why Jenni got a parking ticket for parking there and then assaulted Pete fisher for doing his job.

Rational
Reply to  Sonya
1 month ago

Thank you – that’s correct. But enablers still go in and park when bringing supplies. The ticket that was issued was a direct result of the Fire Department being on scene for a fire call. Traditionally if the Fire Department isn’t down there then parking goes on.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Sonya
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

You are right. I witnessed myself a woman parked at the back of the encampment road and she walked into the encampment.
The new policy doesn’t seem to be enforced. Letters are being written again to the fire department ect. About this. Someone needs to keep the guards accountable.
Also for the last couple days there has been 4 or 5 guards on duty. Why?

Tucker
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

The 12 hr. parking limit is not being enforced in many areas. Try coming to New Amherst.

M Lewis
1 month ago

I wonder what K-9 Security, Maxama Security, and others that drive around the downtown area and encampment at night are costing the town on top of the cost of CPS?

Mark Mills
Reply to  M Lewis
1 month ago

Good question! Who hired these security companies the Town of Cobourg , Province or private business BIA ? Have seen them sitting on King St at night .

Rational
Reply to  M Lewis
1 month ago

I guess a question is why Security Services needed and where are CPS at night. I thought our $7.5 million annual budget dollars was for 24/7 service. Do CPS officers work only during the day and shut down at 5pm like the police station?

LivesinCobourg
Reply to  M Lewis
1 month ago

I would love to know the answer to this. Are the three 24 hour security guards keeping people out or providing security for the “residents”? More importantly, who is footing this large bill?

Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

Start writing, calling and emailing –
Who is in charge of Ontario provincial parks?
It falls under the responsibility and mandate of the province’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. It was formerly under the mandate of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Concerned Taxpayer
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

Constituency office
Unit 1
237 Mapleview Dr. E
Barrie, ON L4N 0W5
[email protected]
Tel.: 705-722-0575
Fax: 705-722-8835
Ministry office
Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks
5th Floor
777 Bay St.
Toronto, ON M7A 2J3
Tel.: 416-314-6790

Honourable Khanjin – Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks – Province of Ontario

Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

Brookside is not a park

Downtowner
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

But it exists in the Environment and conservation of the creek and waterway are at risk

Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Reply to  Downtowner
1 month ago

Then write a letter to the environment providing some observations and evidence of your concerns and ask them to come and investigate. We have the former Minister of Environment right here and that was his job for a time while the encampment was in place.

Downtowner
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

Just what Concerned Taxpayer suggested and kindly furnished points of connection. My response was to clarify that the information provided was helpful and accurate to identify many options of correspondance

Mark Mills
1 month ago

It is an amazing that the Town of Cobourg ,the Police Services Board and whoever is ultimately leading the Police Service would allow the Police spokesperson to address a small group with media present and make light of serious issues that the RESIDENTS and businesses deal with daily!!!

Again , I hear alot of what we can’t do! WHAT CAN YOU DO????

Have the residents and businesses lost confidence in the CPS? If so, are changes needed with board members and senior leaders??

Catherine
1 month ago

I’d like to know where the people are that support this? I’ve stopped being quiet about how nonsensical this encampment is and I’ve realized when talking to everyone (neighbours, colleagues, friends) everyone else thinks it’s ridiculous too – so who supports these nonsensical ideas? Are they just a very small vocal minority?

Old Sailor
Reply to  Catherine
1 month ago

Catherine

Half of our Council members support the encampment and the Green Wood Coalition. And one of them is our Council’s representative on the Police Board. An entirely new Police Board might be a good start.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Old Sailor
1 month ago

I’ve even seen reports that one Councillor’s daughter lives at the encampment. If true, would they support clearing the miscreants?

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
Sam Westcott
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Ken,
Is this True?

Lesley
Reply to  Sam Westcott
1 month ago

I understand that “London Bella”, Aaron Burchat’s daughter dates and sometimes lives at the encampment with Chance Brown (otherwise known as the graffiti “artist” ACE).

Catherine
Reply to  Lesley
1 month ago

How old is London? Chance Brown is I believe in his forties – or maybe he just looks that way from all the drugs? Isn’t she like 21? Legal I guess but suuuuuper creepy.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Sam Westcott
1 month ago

Sam, I’ve heard various rumours but I have no personal knowledge.

True or not, by their lack of action several of our Councillors favour local criminals rather than Cobourg’s law abiding residents. Why don’t Councillors Beatty and Bureau (Police Services Board members) insist that something be done? They have the power to force change! Collecting stolen shopping carts may make a good photo-op but ignores our real problems.

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Sam Westcott
1 month ago

Yes her Buick is parked close by on Brook Rd S every day/night and she has been observed at the car. She is in a relationship with a squatter living at Brookside.

Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
1 month ago

are you stalking her?

Sonya
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

I live on Brook road south and London parks her car in front of my house all the time as well as the red truck that belongs to a woman living at the encampment. Perhaps if you lived in Cobourg you would know what’s going on. Asking someone if they’re stalking someone is putting walls up and creating division between people. This is another problem Cobourg is dealing with. Dividing people isn’t the solution.

Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Reply to  Sonya
1 month ago

I too have neighbours – one family per house and I can’t even tell you what cars they drive. The fact that you know who her father is, how old she is, who she dates, when she arrives, when she leaves, where she parks, what cars she drives sounds pretty – well I am at a loss to find a polite word for this .

Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

BTW- Sonya I lived in Cobourg for 35 years- worked in Cobourg for 25 years, drive there most days – shopping etc, , volunteer in organizations there still, founded two community organizations still in place in Cobourg . so I don’t need a lecture from you about what I know. Port Hope is 6 minutes away from Cobourg on County road 2. . Many Ontario communities are bigger than that. Because you don’t like someone or have an opinion about them does not give you or anyone the right to spy and watch. There is something very wrong about that, IMO. Fine if you don’t want the encampment- I get that- but spying on others in this manner needs to be called out. We keep these kind of behaviours up, then more trouble that we don’t want is going to happen…

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

Linda, what do you mean by “more trouble that we don’t want is going to happen“?

Catherine
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

I think she’s threatening that the enablers are going to do worse damage and bring more people from other areas. That’s the biggest issue with all of this. Nobody wants to see people sleeping in tents. But this is one big hissy fit over the cabins. I think more people would have been behind the cabins if Missy and some of the other enablers weren’t involved. This is all a game and they enjoy upsetting Cobourg taxpayers. I’m not surprised they’re resorting to threatening to get what they want.

Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Reply to  Catherine
1 month ago

First- People who are donating are trying only to save some lives. Others are paid to do their jobs- imagine…..

Secondly my concern is about the possible even more ugly mobilization of the housed against the people living unhoused.

Last edited 1 month ago by Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Pete M
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

Oh how rich!! The housed vs the unhoused? Critical theory- oppressed vs oppressor.
Lets be honest the encampment is an ongoing protest because the Town denied small cabins a year ago. So until the Town gives in the encampment/ protest continues.

Sonya
Reply to  Pete M
1 month ago

You hit the nail on the head Pete.

Catherine
Reply to  Pete M
1 month ago

Yes it’s one giant hissy fit because they didn’t get their way with the cabins and don’t like the mayor.

Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Talking publicly like it is okay to be spying/stalking others could be encouragement to some unstable person to behave even more poorly. These types of discussions of disrespect and hate needs to stop, don’t you think? People have a right to complain and express their feelings, but should there not be limits to what is acceptable discourse? if not Ken, where does it stop? I find the behaviour of the housed who appear to be watching and spying on others they don’t respect , somewhat disconcerting, to say the least. And as FYI- people are sharing from this page locally on social media. IT is how I became aware of this particular part of this thread. Someone messaged me Ken, thinking you were doing the spying because of a shared post (taken out of its full context) by someone I don’t know very well. I came here to find the facts. But don’t listen to me- carry on in this manner and see what happens ……. 🙁

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

Linda, to be completely clear: I have never met London nor Chance. I don’t know their ages. I don’t know what cars they drive. I don:t know where they park. I don’t know where they live. I don’t care! And I don’t live on Brook Road.

Like Sonya but unlike you, I do notice who parks in front of my house every day. Not stalking but simply concern for my neighborhood.

Ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Bring on the Stasi Ken!

Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Ken I actually defended you, because I could not believe you would do that- so I came here and got the proof. I am not my neighbour’s keeper- and I don’t want to be. However – who really cares – my point is complaining is one thing, having an opinion is also a thing, but watching and stalking others is something else.

Country Gal
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

Let’s be clear Linda, your friends Chance and London have been very public about themselves and have openly been posting on a Facebook group called Cobourg Encampment! They have put themselves out in the public eye, made many references to themselves. They Have posted publically, including running a harm reduction business, conducted interviews, and have not done themselves any favours in their encampment group to rouse support. Their conduct in their Facebook group has only garnered more support from citizens who are going to continue to speak up loudly about this occupation of private lands, looking for free housing while terrorizing a whole town with their druggie, thieving behaviour.
For you to state that ANYONE is stalking them is ignorant and disrespectful. Yet, that does not surprise me as you find all content regarding crime, drug fuelled behaviour, open drug use and the lack of lawfulness trivial. You downplay any issues that effect children, seniors and the real vulnerable in the community.
You may have lived in Cobourg at one time, but have not in the last 2 years so your content is irrelevant. You should think twice before posting where you are not supported.

Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Reply to  Country Gal
1 month ago

Aren’t you adorable?
I don’t hide behind made up handles either.
And I am fine with having an opinion that isn’t the same as some pages popular opinion of the moment.

Yep I have never been a lemming.

And in case you don’t know , resolving homelessness and the opioid crises is a county -wide responsibility (and health is even larger than that) and many communities fall under the county, (not just Cobourg , not just Port Hope, but also places like Campbellford, Brighton, Colborne etc) .

Our municipalities hold responsibilities for bylaws. I so wish we had Tiny Homes and even sleeping cabins being built – while we wait for the years it is going to take for affordable housing to be built.

Country Gal
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

Not anywhere in my response to you did I even discuss housing and responsibility for housing. Nice gaslighting tactic. You accused people of stalking individuals and I clearly have let you know that the victims you suggest cannot be stalked when they have public platforms and public lives. Period.
As for your housing and opioid drivel, it is the responsibility of the provincial government to resolve those issues. The county has about as 200 million dollars in their budget to cover resources for 7 municipalities within Northumberland county. Only a small portion of such can be dedicated to housing. If you think the lowest tiered governing body, the municipality would consider spending money on cabins or tiny homes you are kidding yourself. Have you ever thought that if people cannot take care of themselves they will never be able to take care of a residence? That’s a fact Jack! (Me just being my adorable self)

Mervin
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

Linda, I feel like you are so ideologically captured that nothing will change your mind. No amount of suffering seems to faze you. How much harm would you have to see? If you are married to your ideas and your whole existence relies on the perception that you are doing good, you would collapse if truth were to find you and your identity flaws revealed. You are not your ideas; you can evolve your views when evidence is overwhelming. The most progressive cities around are adjusting their policies because of the obvious harm that has been inflicted on communities and those experiencing addiction. How bad does it have to get?

Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Reply to  Mervin
1 month ago

Everybody is suffering.

Reading this animosity towards other humans is also another form of suffering.
I can’t stand the fact that today we are going through an opioid and homeless crises. And yet here we are. So what are we going to do about it what I want to know? And lets have real solutions that aren’t all about animosity and jails. I am sure there are people out there with answers ,Lets listen. I also believe we need some Tiny homes being built- the sooner- the better. How do we get started?

Mervin
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

The people in question had homes! They did not care for the homes, or those who shared space with them. They need to correct the behaviour that perpetuates the cycle of suffering. Tiny homes won’t fix that.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mervin
Pete M
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

I’m sorry Linda please explain how changing out tents for tiny homes is going to change the encampment culture of drugs, stolen property, criminal behaviour and unhealthy conditions.
In order to end the “suffering”, those suffering must want to make changes. So long as they are provided with free food, free wood, and other amenities, this allows them to use their funds to buy drugs, with no expectations to to change. Why would they want to end the “suffering”.

Numerous people on this blog have called for mandatory drug treatment, mandatory mental health treatment.

Unfortunately our laws dont allow for a legal means to get these individuals into legal long term treatments, so the cycle continues.

Sonya
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

You are making a lot of assumptions here. Who don’t I like?
Your response is way over the top. Calling someone a stalker because they see who parks in front of their house is really not called for.
I, and the neighbours on my street do not want known drug addicts and drug dealers parked in front of our houses.
I am offended by your angry outburst, name calling, accusations and combative language. This kind of language only causes division.
It’s time to seek solutions not cause more division in people’s minds.

Ben
Reply to  Sonya
1 month ago

Read this again and see if it fits the definition of “stalking” of course if you don’t do this disregard the post.

 The fact that you know who her father is, how old she is, who she dates, when she arrives, when she leaves, where she parks, what cars she drives sounds pretty………snip “

Wikipedia definition of “Stalking”
Stalking is unwanted and/or repeated surveillance or contact by an individual or group toward another person.[1] Stalking behaviors are interrelated to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person or monitoring them. The term stalking is used with some differing definitions in psychiatry and psychology, as well as in some legal jurisdictions as a term for a criminal offense.[2][3]

Sonya
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

I know who London is because I talk to her all the time on social media. I have no dislike for her. I actually feel sorry for her. I don’t need to stalk her. When I and my neighbours have criminal drug users and drug dealers parked in front of my house of course I’m concerned.
My neighbour up the street has been broken into three times damaging the door each time. My neighbour just had to install $4000 worth of security to keep her insurance down.
You and Linda totally ignore the harm that so many people in Cobourg are suffering and have to resort to ridiculous accusations of stalking. You and Linda need to have some compassion and try to be part of the solution. You are both a huge part of the problem when you deny whats right before your eyes or maybe you really don’t see what’s going on if you live outside the area of the encampment which I think you do. So until you walk in someone else’s shoes tone it down a bit.

Mervin
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

So, defecating on sidewalks and selling drugs to high schoolers is fine, Ben keeps silent. Now, he has a big problem with people keeping an eye on the Loiterers who ,at least one of them, has committed crimes. You and Linda can’t be serious. Do you not see how ridiculous you two sound?

Rob
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

Linda, I’m not sure what your experience is but perhaps when one lives near an illegal tent city, housing unemployed non-recovering addicts, where violence occurs, open drug use is common, regular calls for EMS, stolen property recovered, property thefts inevitable, fires extinguished, drug trafficking happening and a parade of enablers parking illegally and obliterating the fabric of our community, you have a tendency to take note of activity around the home that you have worked so hard to acquire and pay so dearly to keep.

Why don’t you encourage the encampers to relocate to Port Hope, perhaps near your home – I mean its only 6 mins away!

Jade
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

Oh please.. get a grip and stop defending these addicts. You don’t know half of what goes on there. And anyone that has to see and deal with these addicts does know who they are , where they go , what they drive and who hangs with who. Please feel free to drop by on their open house tour and see for yourself. Until then just stop

Rob
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

Stalking is a crime, you should be mindful of what you say – words matter.

Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Yes words matter – and actions matter even more.

Last edited 1 month ago by Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
30 days ago

I would not waste my time “stalking” the squatters at the illegal encampment. I live so close by that, unless I hid in my basement, I can see and hear what goes on there day and night. And it makes me sick to observe this socially abhorrent behaviour every single. The squatters have been waiting with hands out since September 2023. What have they done to help themselves as enablers bring food, tents, firewood etc. How many have accepted help from social workers to get off drugs, get a job, get housing provided for them, but no there they wait, thieving etc etc.

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Old Sailor
1 month ago

Maybe a new Police Force or at least a new leader?

Audrey
Reply to  Sam Westcott
1 month ago

Yes. A new Chief of Police, asap.

Kevin
Reply to  Catherine
1 month ago

Unfortunately when a very small vocal minority takes over it can cause huge problems. In education, it seems to me, only like minded people get hired at the school board and ministry levels. They have taken over education. Did many Germans really believe sending thousands to gas chambers was appropriate or did most of the Germans go along with it out of fear for their own lives? I really do not know enough about history. Yesterday I was speaking with a teacher turned councillor. Young children are asking her why they do not have a father, or 2 fathers. She cannot answer these questions, they are for the parent(s), she can only provide other support. The tremendous focus on LQBTQ+ people has caused lots of confusion for young children. It is dividing families when a confused young person thinks he/she is in the wrong body, wants to identify as a different gender and teachers are not allowed to tell parents. The young person most likely needs a good councillor. Do you trust the school system to provide one or should the parents be doing it? This is all because a tiny minority of the population is actually transgender.

Yes, a vocal minority can have a major effect on society. The people who support it are the ones providing tents, wood, food. They have information sessions on sleeping cabins, overdose awareness and such. Go talk to them, make your opinion known.

Catherine
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

The only solution is for the silent majority to stop being quiet. Most people are reasonable- just not extreme. In the example of LGBTQ+ in schools, most (not all) would agree that this is a free country and grown consenting adults can love who they love. Somehow that turned into telling kids they can change their gender and that gender doesn’t exist. In the same way most would agree the cost of living is exorbitant and we need solutions for people that have fallen on tough times. Somehow this has equated to an illicit drug free for all and no consequences for criminals- the criminals have no because the victims in this twisted narrative. Strange times for sure.

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Catherine
1 month ago

Catherine
They are a VERY small vocal minority who are pushing their “Progressive” Agenda. This is not very progressive to me.
The Deputy Mayor is very Progressive as we all know, Sissy and a few others.

As the Police Chief said above “But it’s never going to be the way it was – those days are gone.”
Why are they gone?
If the CPS cannot do it maybe the OPP can.
Speaking as a citizen and Taxpayer of Cobourg I want my old Town back.
Anything wrong with that?

Ben
Reply to  Sam Westcott
1 month ago

Speaking as a citizen and Taxpayer of Cobourg I want my old Town back.”

I guess you had better watch “Back to the Future ” many times and buy yourself a time travel machine – sometimes the truth hurts!

Mervin
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

Travel, explore, have you no lived experiences of areas that transition for the better? You live in some weird bubble, apparently with the chief of police, areas improve and make progress all the time. You deciding that the current lower standard is acceptable is what delays that progress.

Kevin
1 month ago

I read through Pete Fisher’s report of the meeting and found a couple of interesting things that others have not commented on.

It seems that the homeless are getting $1700 per month. If two of them share an apartment for $2000/month that leaves $700 each for other things. Living in the encampment costs nothing leaving $1700 for other things. Even food is free with excess going to feed rats. I have a tent, how do I get my $1700/month and not have to pay taxes, utilities etc?

The people who support the encampment have fractured into about 4 different groups. Is this a divide and conquer strategy or simply an observation? Perhaps the different groups are focusing on different parts of the problem. The supervised drug use sites and the sleeping cabins are sort of fighting each other. The point of supervised drug sites is for somebody to help when there is an overdose. With sleeping cabins a drug overdose could turn into a final long sleep. The 310 Division Shelter seems to be turning into a housing first type of thing with the top two floors for living with a kitchen and bathroom. It will not work for everyone and we will still have homeless people.

“I’m not here today to say that you shouldn’t be afraid – that’s just stupid.” So we should be afraid? Some of us are! Now what Chief?

Downtowner
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

Good point Kevin on the “free” tent life.l had someone suggest we all line up at Transition House and the warming hub for the free lunches and dinners….we are paying for them anyway…at least we might eat and appreciate the food, not throw it away, because there is a collective thought that these folks deserve better…even though they pay nothing.Though ,according to Bryson, on Pete’s interview with the port a potty abusers, that hand out has been discontinued…perhaps the waste was realized. Just, a bug for me , but, there should be no disposable food and drink containers leaving Transition House or the warming room or “take away” food. The litter and garbage created as waste containers on the street are not used, only random front lawns, sidewalks and park space. If one is seeking a meal, perhaps sitting in the room and consuming it, then washing up after oneself is a starting block toward accountability. Our environment is hurting quite enough without this added disrespect of our surroundings and disregard for assistance given.

Joh
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

The tent encampment has so far been winning every aspect of its intent. To cause a blight on the Town of Cobourg, to cause maximum discomfort to our Town officials and to undermine our faith that our police force will keep us safe There has been No restrictions on the numbers and it is growing in size on a weekly basis .If there appears to be security guards why as a first step stop any further increase in numbers. Why are they being supplied with porta potties and free fire wood . Next it will be showers and loungers
Why are they so enabled to obtain food surplice to their needs and left to-rot and feed rats .Are our Food Banks not rationing their supplies
why are we making their lives tenable ? i wish I had $1700 of welfare money to spend on recreational drugs. I guess you cannot charge even a modest camping fee to offset the costs.
yes a class action is required to move them on
This used to be a Romany problem in the Uk . Now it is a Canada wide problem Stop making them feel at Home on our Main Street!

Downtowner
1 month ago

Pete Fisher has a post on X that 32 shopping carts were rounded up today……that’s likely half of them out there. Constantly four or five in the troubled triangle area alone…Great publicity for CPS exercising their role as coddlers of the thieves among us. Crime should ALWAYS hold penalties….not excuses or a police force cleaning up after the fact

cornbread
Reply to  Downtowner
1 month ago

32 Large Grocery Shopping Carts cost about $11,000 or about $350 each when new. A grocery store has to sell about $500,000 of groceries to cover a $11,000 expense. Jail time for the thieves for sure…

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Downtowner
1 month ago

Downtowner,
I am glad that someone is picking up the Shopping Carts but could it be direct Town employees instead of highly paid Police Officers at $100,000 plus Salary?
Other Departments such as Bi Law Enforcement or Park & Recs should be doing this leaving the Police to enforce the Law!

Downtowner
Reply to  Sam Westcott
1 month ago

Absolutely agree. returning shopping carts outside police services. The best solution in my mind is when an individual is found in possession of a shopping cart, not being used for the intended purpose…not only should they be charged with a theft but be responsible for returning it to the owner. Abandoned carts could be walked back by those assigned community service hours.

Gerry
Reply to  Sam Westcott
1 month ago

Town employees would be at risk of assault if they attempted to retrieve these carts. The employees are not paid to put themselves in danger of this sort. The cart enthusiasts aren’t known for acquiescence to the rule of law. I wouldn’t pick them up either.

Pete M
Reply to  Gerry
1 month ago

Gerry. Nobody is saying that Town employees are to enter the encampment to retrieve. What is is being suggested is that Town employees pick up the ABANDONED carts left scattered about the Town not the ones being pushed about

Dave
1 month ago

Drove through the downtown today. Saw a woman police officer chasing off a skinny, out in space bedraggled blonde woman. Obviously harassing people, should have been arrested, not repeatedly chased along the sidewalk. Sprawled at the corner of a building was a living cadaver, dirty old clothes, baseball cap sunken face. In watching You Tube on other cities full of zombie types litering th streets with a police chief making comments as he does I wonder how long it will be until we are heavily littered with this human trash all over our streets. I’m all for POW style guarded, isolated barrick style places for those that refuse help and the political will from our politicians to end this nonsense. I know who I am going to vote for and Canada I feel would be much better of with 2 political parties only. What a waste of resources on these parasites on life.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave
Jade
1 month ago

One of the chiefs most common thing when talking is to throw a few jokes in there. Glad he thinks it’s funny the shit and abuse the residents deal with daily. Borrow things my butt. It is absolutely a crime to steal others property but no charges come to those homeless. They need it more than you ? Pardon me ?? The most criminal thing he has said yet. It’s stunning how he can sit back and let the residents deal with this crime ourselves and do absolutely nothing to solve issues. This town needs a proper chief that’s hard on crime and not pussyfoot around the rights of those campers. I don’t give a damn if the judge throws cases out. That’s on the judge. Just do the damn job and start arresting the fools that do the crime. Be a cop not a bloody care worker. That’s all the CPS is… a care giver. Made all the more apparent with Jamie the cop defending the camp and providing them with what they have to have. I say OPP for sure now. It’s apparent our money does nothing to support CPS. We pay THEM to keep us safe. Haven’t seen that in years. Get rid of the service

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Jade
1 month ago

Hear! Hear!
Most of us are clearly Fed up.
Hope our Council are paying attention.

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Jade
1 month ago

Why did the police force become a police service? Most ridiculous wording change ever. Begging for food at stores, jumping in the lake, decorating cookies this is NOT what I pay my taxes for. Two far left wing councillors on the police board are also useless. Could someone just do their job and clean up this mess that this town has become?

Pete M
1 month ago

In light of the Chief’s statement and the anger and frustrations expressed by the commentators in this blog, I believe the CPS Board needs to come out with a statement. Is the Board in an agreement with the Chief’s remarks and does the Chief still have the Board’s confidence given that the residents of Cobourg just have to accept the fact their property will be “borrowed”?

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Pete M
1 month ago

Maybe I will borrow a Police Car on the same basis and that would not be a crime.
Ludicrous.

Scottie
1 month ago

“When VandeGraaf came to Cobourg in 2014 there were 5500 calls for service. In 2023 there were 13400.” I took this from the article in the Northumberland News about Chief VandeGraaf’s presentation at Palisade Gardens. Not sure if this was a quote from the Chief himself, or a comment by Northumberland News BUT it speaks for itself. With a crime statistic like this, it’s high time for the Cobourg Police Services Board to thank the Chief for his service over the past 10 years and encourage him to go gracefully into his retirement to make way for a new chief will have the youthful energy to actually take control of the criminals, rather than encouraging them to “borrow” from residents what they need!

Mike
1 month ago

Let me see if I have this straight……the CPS eats up a massive chunk of the towns budget…they want the town to pony up millions of dollars for a new building….crime and drug use are running rampant through the area….and they are using their resources in collecting shopping carts?!?!?!? And even then, not doing that very well???????? WTF?!?!?!?

CPS costs far far too much money for miniscule results. How about….oh I don’t know….just off the top of my head…..curbing the influx of drugs into the area by going after the dealers? Crazy idea, I know. Why bother doing police work in theft prevention (they’re “borrowing” your stuff), attending to assaults (which apparently don’t happen according to the chief) and making the town safer for pedestrian traffic (oops – there’s no going back to that kind of place. Again the chief)? Why do any of this when they can sit back (literally), do the barest of bare minimums and get truck loads of money?

I am tired of this Barney Fife style of policing. Bring in the OPP, save some money and maybe get some actual police work done.

Rational
Reply to  Mike
1 month ago

Agree. And to add – with the Final Tax Notice mailed out to tax payers this week is a Brochure from the Town with a Schedule which shows how each individuals Tax $ are spent. There is a Grouping of 17 categories.

Leading the pack are Police Services at $52 per month per tax payer. This is double the 15th place group Engineering and Roads at $26 per month per tax payer. And it goes down from there to the #1 least expensive at $1 per month per tax payer which is Crossing Guards – which I say are providing greater services and safety to the Town of Cobourg than the CPS.

So — how much of our tax $ are related to CPS lack of enforcement/control that has led to a growing Encampment and drug/crime related situation in Cobourg?

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Catherine
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Maybe if we switch to OPP there will be enough left in the budget to get lifeguards at the beach again. And just like crossing guards they’d be providing a better service than our current police. Get rid of CPS now! As others have stated OPP may not necessarily be better (can’t be worse) but at least we’d save millions.

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Catherine
1 month ago

Catherine,
Multi Millions of Tax Dollars and we will not have to build a new ($32,000 plus) Police Station which is sometimes closed on Sunday anyway!

Ben
Reply to  Mike
1 month ago

Bring in the OPP, save some money and maybe get some actual police work done.”

The proof is in the pudding. What you are calling for is contradictory, you only get what you pay for. The last review of the CPS/OPP failed when the OPP could not guarantee the level of service required by the status quo.

Sure bring in the OPP and use the same level of service and it will be just as expensive if not more.

Bring them in at a cheaper rate and then stand back for the deluge of complaints about slow response times!
Your choice.

Kyle
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

OPP police many municipalities larger than Cobourg and in the media I certainly to not see them using their expensive resources collecting shopping carts. In fact they have taken the bold move to roadside ALL drivers they pull over. Action I do not see in Cobourg but then again the Chief may think they are just borrowing cars that are being driven impaired.

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

Ben,
Perhaps it is our choice to try OPP and if it does not work; merge with Port Hope etc. to create a Northumberland Police Force.
Ben you are quoting old studies and one thing we all know is the present system is broken.
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained instead of the same old, same old.

Ben
Reply to  Sam Westcott
1 month ago

Only problem is that once you go OPP there is no turning back and you are stuck with a first year ‘bait and switch’ – still it’s your choice!

Dave
Reply to  Sam Westcott
1 month ago

Sam I’m more for merging the police forces with a central chief overseeing the coordination, setting priorities of enforcement rather than the OPP. Port Hope is a well organized force knowledgeable with local issues which is needed and stricter in every aspect. As a kid growing up in a higher crime area the police knew their district and citizens – who was trouble and who was not. They spoke with the residents ascertaining what they were doing and knew what was going on enforced the law and deserved the respect they were given.

Small town lover
1 month ago

So if they put up a tent in my backyard I can’t have them removed by the Police until a new home is found for them?

Mare
Reply to  Small town lover
1 month ago

Remember this is provincial property these campers are on.

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Small town lover
1 month ago

Apparently! Perhaps you have to house them in your basement.
This is not a logical statement. Take (or Send) these people back were the came from.

Debbie
1 month ago

I take offence to VandeGraafs comments saying that. “Cobourg is a safe place but it’s never going to be the way it was. THOSE SAYS ARE GONE. I pay taxes. Also I have asked this question before Why are we listening to Waterloo? Send the encampment over there.

Don’t Understand
1 month ago

Is Mr VandeGraafs comment of “Welcome to the party” (to the Palisade Residents) supposed to be funny?

I would hope he has watched Pete Fishers video of the encampment from this week that clearly shows multiple shopping carts around the encampment tents (clearly visible from the street) – stolen property!!!

Why has Mr VandGraafs new ‘shopping cart’ round up not confiscated these items??

It also appears to be the Palisades stolen bench beside one of the tents (standing on its end) – again stolen property!!! Visible as the firefighters stand beside a number of tents.

Waiting for the new ‘shopping cart’ initiative to begin or not begin I guess.

Or is this, what seems like, group of ‘ lawless ‘ individuals (tenants of Infrastructure Ontario) exempt not only from town bylaws but from the laws that govern theft and possession of stolen property?????

This is wrong on so many levels and the entire town is paying the price.

Old Sailor
1 month ago

Let’s face it. The goal of Northumberland County is to make sure that all of the homeless problems stay in downtown Cobourg. Not near Port Hope, Brighton, Township of Alnwick/Haldimand, Township of Cramahe, Township of Hamilton or the Municipality of Trent Hills. When was the last time you saw a homeless person or encampment in any of these other parts of Northumberland County? When was the last time you visited downtown Port Hope or Brighton and listened to a stream of sirens from EMS, Police and Fire Departments?
 
And the County doesn’t want to share in the incremental cost of “servicing” the homeless in Cobourg as requested in Cobourg’s emergency care establishment bylaw. The County has even engaged a top 5 law firm, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, to beat up on Cobourg’s bylaw. And our Ontario Human Rights Commission is concerned about our bylaw imposing “unnecessary restrictions” on emergency and transitional housing. Everyone seems to have it in for Cobourg taxpayers.
 
Cobourg taxpayers deserve regular updates from the Province, County and Cobourg Council on the status of Cobourg’s emergency care bylaw requests, the prevention of future Cobourg encampments and the sharing of 310 Division Street related costs with the County. If these matters do not progress satisfactorily, I could see a class action suit being launched by the taxpayers of Cobourg with Northumberland County as the defendant. With our lawyers acting on a success fee basis.

Catherine
Reply to  Old Sailor
1 month ago

I know. I wish I’d moved to brighton during Cobourg. But my kids are really happy at school here, etc so I’m stuck for now. We’ve always lived here and always loved it soooo much.

Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

Help me understand. Why is it that Cobourg has become the hub for homelessness and not Port Hope? Are we enabling the encampment? Of greater concern are the health and safety issues associated with living in the encampment – disease, hunger, filth, bathroom facilities (porta potties are temporary) and a lack of clean water. When these people get ill and an epidemic of disease begins to flow through tent city how is Cobourg going to deal with that? Our hospital can’t deal with that. If we can’t move the encampment we need to focus on restricting it’s size and growth especially come the summer months. That is something we can do. Whose responsibility is it to minimize encampment expansion?

James Bisson
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

Good questions!:
1 – the answer I consistently receive is that “Cobourg has the resources”.
2 – the site is self managed with the help of activists. It is unsupervised by authorities, just serviced so they’re very enabled
3 – the site has had an infestation of rats with exterminators brought in. Chief has confirmed that they get more food than they consume and there is no refrigeration so no surprise.
4 – I was at the site 2 days ago and spoke with security. They are monitoring and not managing access so there is no cap. IO to my understanding has restricted access to the west side of the entrance. The area near the creek was a flood zone, so at this time the entire west side is available. They number about 46 based on the IO guards and another source.
As for responsibility, no one!

Sonya
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

Yes there are rats in the neighbourhood of the encampment. Big enough rats to burrow under a sidewalk and lift it right up. Why is Jenni frenke saying there a no rats at the encampment?
I also spoke to the security guards and the east side of the property is off limits for tents. The west side is open house apparently. How can they deny access to some property and then allow tents on the west side?
Why do they allow any new campers in? The Waterloo decision says nothing about not allowing new people to put up tents. It only states we can’t take tents down.

Mare
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

This is provincial property they are camping on.

Concerned Taxpayer
Reply to  Mare
1 month ago

Even Ontario Provincial Parks have minimum health and safety standards that are enforced. Perhaps this is a work around. Get Park Rangers in there to manage the encampment – Cobourg Provincial Park.

Concerned Taxpayer
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

Who is in charge of Ontario provincial parks?
It falls under the responsibility and mandate of the province’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. It was formerly under the mandate of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Mare
1 month ago

AND so what does that mean? Anybody can do what they like.
I am moving down and settling on Queens Park, the Parliament building in Toronto for Summer in the City!
Bet I get get ejected fast,
I will bring a Camper, a boat and my Car. Will that work?

Rational
1 month ago

Following is from the police Chief at the May 8th meeting as relayed in the Pete Fisher article.

VandeGraaf also clarified about the simple possession of hard drugs.

Quotes:

“There is a law from the Federal Court that says you will not arrest somebody for simple possession of an illegal drug.”

“So if I have just enough for me to use, the Federal Crown Attorney says do not charge the person. We don’t want to tie up the courts with this small stuff.”

“As of May 1 I purposely, publicly stated I am challenging the Federal Courts decision.”
VandeGraaf said he’s already been contacted by Ministry of Attorney General of Ontario and Federal Ministry of Attorney General asking him why he has taken this position.

“I found a part in the Act when the community impact is greater than this, then this should not be used.”

I take these to mean that the Police Chief has studied the Federal Act that has been preventing him legally doing police work.

Below is the Government of Canada’s regulation regarding “Prosecution of Possession of Controlled Substances dated August 2020. In my view part 5.13 – 3 – 3 – C has always provided enforcement by authorities to override what we have been told can’t be over ridden by CPS. Is this what the Police Chief is referring to?

https://www.ppsc-sppc.gc.ca/eng/pub/fpsd-sfpg/fps-sfp/tpd/p5/ch13.html

To much bobbing and weaving going on and it needs to stop.

Barry
1 month ago

My wife and I no longer feel safe in Cobourg. We have been harassed while walking down the street while shopping, while trying to enter the Scotia Bank, sitting at the outdoor dining at the Buttermilk and recently while sitting in a fast food outlet parking lot. Each time it has been a person who is homeless, drunk or under the influence of drugs. This was not the case just a few years ago.
We no longer look forward to going to Cobourg and have started travelling regularly to Port Hope and Peterborough. Our personal business now travels to where we are comfortable, that is we are spending our money someplace else.
Cobourg is no longer the friendly little town we used to enjoy.
it is a sad reality and needs immediate action. Good luck.

Lizzy
Reply to  Barry
1 month ago

I totally agree with you Barry. I don’t go downtown anymore. I travel to Port Hope, Brighton or Peterborough to shop.

Ben
Reply to  Barry
1 month ago

We no longer look forward to going to Cobourg and have started travelling regularly to Port Hope and Peterborough.”

Obviously you do not shop in downtown P’boro it is worse with more transients than Cobourg.

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Barry
1 month ago

We need more than luck. We need the people paid by our Taxpayers to do their job with no excuses.
What about moving the encampment to the Police Services Building Car Park or Victoria Hall
Better still move them to the County Building or Court House. The latter is a Provincial Building and has a massive lot out back.
Or the OPP building. That’s got to be a Provincial Building?

Ben
Reply to  Sam Westcott
1 month ago

You do realise that if the encampment is moved or destroyed you will have 40 more spread across the Town as the residents relocate.

I can’t wait for the howls of protests from the people who want them moved. Be realistic just where do you think they will go?

Sandpiper
1 month ago

Yes the Dynamic Police Patrol
all decked out and on Guard just in time for the MOVIE shoot .
All the Officers looked spectacular dressed in their finest .
Yes the Homeless seemed to be out of sight for a day or so
but as soon as the movie Stars left town the police seemed to as well
We had ambulances at the Frink midday & early evening over the last day on Overdose issues and I believe at least 1 in Vic. Park .
I understand that our Medical response teams Fire , Medical , Ambulance, Police have had massive increases in calls to attend various incidents for the Homeless & Substance abusers
Thefts all the while Budgets and manpower are being stressed .

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 month ago

Actually read the news. They are hiring more and more people to deal this on Taxpayer money! What a mess.

Lesley
1 month ago

Flabbergasted:

….”And they are going to continue to borrow your stuff when they need it more than you.”

Audrey
Reply to  Lesley
1 month ago

Good grief! VandeGraaf needs to go. We’re losing our town and he’s defending those committing actual crimes. Did I get that right?

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Audrey
1 month ago

Absolutely you got it 100% right.

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Lesley
1 month ago

The chief sounds like an enabler!!!! Time to go.

Dave
1 month ago

One thing I am confused about is the Chief said possession of small amounts of illegal hard drugs is not illegal. Yet in the news first Oliva Chow asking for decimalization mirroring what B.C. adopted and is now reversing – possession of small amounts of illegal hard drugs. Doug Ford was first to stand up saying Ontario would not be adopting decrimalization possession of small amounts of illegal hard drugs as B.C. did, very definite. This was followed by Trudeau who first tried to block B.C.’s reversal. Realizing his numbers are slipping badly he now states further decriminalization would not take place anywhere. Yet we are told the reverse by the Chief.

As Transition House had beds available and we were advised with wrap around services that stood empty why would the Chief think they would be utilized by hard core drug users when they wouldn’t occupy Transition House? Having run a halfway house for newly released inmates at one time in my life I can assure you rules are needed and if there is a softer way such as allowing them to live in tents and break the law with drug possession resulting in thefts to feed their habit 310 will be empty of this kind of person.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave
Gerinator
1 month ago

Lots of talk about replacing CPS with OPP. Sure its an option but the legal/systematic constraints will be the same for OPP as they are for CPS. Okay a potential, for awhile, cost savings BUT many of the problems we are having with encampments will not, IMHO, go away and may potentially get worse if OPP coverage is not the same, or better, as what CPS provides. At least with CPS we have a more or less home grown attendance to the problems.

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Gerinator
1 month ago

The Chief does not live in Cobourg and I think other Police Officers probably do not either. Some OPP officers might live in Cobourg so I don’t know about home grown. I know a lot that come from elsewhere so what is your point?

Kathleen
1 month ago

We already know the (lack) of service we receive and how expensive the CPS is to Cobourg.
The cost to go OPP needs to be addressed.
I would like to see a Town Referendum.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

Wait til the PTSD and medical leaves get accounted for last yr and this
that report should be a Dandy !

Ben
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 month ago

Sam please compare that report to the same report issued by the OPP I bet they will be the same percentage of sick Officers – maybe more!

M Lewis
1 month ago

According to the Chief the dynamic patrol was initiated and part of it deals with zero tolerance for arrestable behaviour in the downtown but this is what he had to say to seniors who are victims of crimes?
“And now you’re suffering. So I would like to say – welcome to the party.”
“Is your stuff being stolen from your house? Yup, we guarantee it.”
“They are going to continue to live in tents. They are going to continue to move their tents from there to somewhere else. And they are going to continue to borrow your stuff when they need it more than you.”

And even
“The amount of perishable food we’re bringing down there (at the encampment) it’s not being eaten at the speed at what it’s getting delivered.”

I am speechless.

Pete M
Reply to  M Lewis
1 month ago

The Chief with these comments has admitted his tool box is empty and there is not much more they can do but contain it and they are struggling to do that.

The statement- “Is your stuff being stolen from your house? Yup, we guarantee it.””- makes the citizen feel like their alone and its up to them to prevent and stop these thefts.

From the Chief’s statements it sounds like the encampment is getting a steady supply of wood, food and other supplies to me their needs. So then why the need to steal? ILLICIT HARD DRUGS!

Enforcement against Illegal drugs in the community falls within the wheel house of the Chief. So what is he and staff going to do to stem the flow and distribution of the poison.

The poison killing people, the poison creating zombies, the poison causing people to act out irrationally?

The community is crisis I would like to have the Chief sound more like Winston Churchill and not like Neville Chamberlain.

Lemon Cake
1 month ago

What does “those days are gone” mean? Is he saying encampments and lawlessness are the future and we need to get used to it? Because if that’s the case we might as well move. Also, people screaming and threatening others in public is, in fact, an offence worthy of police intervention. These defeatist remarks are a pretty depressing read for a Saturday morning. Also it’s worth noting the encampment appears to have doubled in size from the last time I walked by it – and it’s only the beginning of the season.

Gerinator
Reply to  Lemon Cake
1 month ago

True but IMO the police have to deal within the constraints to the ‘current’ legal system e.g. handling of Bail. Only way those constraints are removed/improved are through the Province and I guess the Feds.

Carol
Reply to  Gerinator
1 month ago

You are quite right. I believe with all the provincial bills passed the police have their hands tied especially with the human rights. We will never have the service we get now with the OPP and if it’s a few bucks less today it will not be following in the next years. They have the same issues and staff problems. I am getting fed up with not being able to mail a letter from a post box because they had to seal them up. Can’t get money from the ATM and now security has to sit at my bank. While I am at it try going down and buy your parking pass when the staff can’t really explain it to you we can’t figure it out I love this town but I am getting discouraged.

Dave
Reply to  Carol
1 month ago

Provincial?? I have only seen Federal laws governing this Carol as reviewed in a much earlier Blog. Please list the Provincial bills as the Federal bills were listed to inform us otherwise I believe you are placing the blame with the wrong governing body.

Gerinator
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave, this is the type of detail that bogs us down from getting solutions. The point is that CPS can’t make/amend laws. Up to the Justice system and the Federal and Provincial parliaments.

Rational
1 month ago

In my opinion, this presentation further confirms The Police Chief’s lack of understanding of the situation in Cobourg; and is exactly why an OPP RFP is necessary. The Mayor and Council need to understand this as well.

An OPP RFP will not present itself overnight, so Council needs to instruct staff to initiate one now and get the process underway, so decisions can be made in conjunction with the next annual budget preparations.

Cobourg needs an urgent change in Policing/Enforcement policies and behaviours.

Kyle
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

If we even get the same quality of policing for $3,000,000 less per year I will take that in a heart beat.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Kyle
1 month ago

Yes But it will never show up as reduced Taxes

Ben
Reply to  Kyle
1 month ago

Dream on!

Rob
1 month ago

I have other thoughts about this which I may share later however it is Friday of a holiday long weekend and I want to keep it positive….

There is nothing about what the Chief said which gives me any confidence in his ability to lead this community. He sounds defeated. He doesn’t communicate a vision and doesn’t appear to have a long term strategy to address the absolute deterioration of our town. I don’t envy him or the members of the CPS; it is a incredibly difficult and complex job, but this will not do.

  • Ill timed humour – there is nothing to joke about
  • Calling thefts of property, “borrowed” – are we forgetting about the fact that a criminal accesses your home/yard/shed to take the property and what negative consequences that could have in the future. And the fear a vulnerable person must feel knowing this has occurred.
  • “Is your stuff being stolen from your house? Yup, we guarantee it.” – How nonchalant.
  • Using Cobourg resources in Bewdley and charging Cobourg overtime
  • IMO Blitz programs demonstrate a lack of control – blitz programs should be used during short-term or temporary increases in activity NOT known long-term sustained criminal activity (i.e. the Holiday ride program is a blitz)
  • Telling taxpayers attacks on strangers “doesn’t happen” – Simply saying it, doesn’t make it true. There was a young boy assaulted downtown and a woman beaten at the dog park recently.

This will not do.

Hope everyone has a safe Victoria Day long-weekend!

Pete M
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Ur spot on Rob. If there wasn’t the threat of OPP replacing Cobourg, would he be doing these initiatives?
I would like to see and hear more from D/Chief Haskins.

Abby
Reply to  Pete M
1 month ago

The OPP is not the right answer. CPS can do the job; the law is in their favour. CPS needs leadership to do what’s required.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Lets not forget the Hatchet attack at woody’ s or the Dentist Office assault & Theft on Division st

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Rob the Chief has to go. and the system revamped, or OPP hired if we are going to change things.

Catherine
1 month ago

Still tons of shopping carts at the encampment

cornbread
Reply to  Catherine
1 month ago

Stealing shopping carts is still Theft in the eyes of the law. Time for the retailers to have “theft charges” laid by police???

marya
1 month ago

What jumped off the page of Pete Fisher’s Report for me was the Chief’s use of the word “borrowed” in connection with (alleged) stolen property. I am pleased with the increased accounts of charges and arrests that have been documented in regards to the Dynamic Patrols…