Statement by Warden Brian Ostrander about recent online commentary

In the interest of reporting all sides of a news story, I am reporting on a statement issued by the Warden of Northumberland County about the encampment. It’s good to get an update from the County – the following text is provided unedited from Warden Ostrander’s statement issued at 1:18 pm on June 14.

Northumberland continues to face the significant challenge of rising homelessness.

Today, like communities across the province, we are witnessing the convergence of multiple crises – an opioid addiction crisis, a housing affordability crisis, and the residual effects of a global pandemic, including a dramatic rise in the overall cost of living. These issues have been building for years, and people have been hard hit.

This reality has manifested most visibly in the form of an encampment at the former Brookside property, in the Town of Cobourg. This encampment has laid bare the significant challenges we are facing as a community.

Public encampment has understandably caused concern, frustration, and distress for our residents. People are concerned for the safety and well-being of their unsheltered neighbours, as well as the broader community.

Recently, however, we have seen some of these concerns take an unproductive turn. There has been a rising tone of hostility directed towards those living unsheltered. Blog posts and social media commentary have intensified this negativity, with inflammatory language and unfounded accusations.

This is disheartening for those already suffering. At worst, it is dangerous. I am urging everyone to approach this situation with compassion and humanity. Hate speech and discrimination against those experiencing homelessness only serve to deepen divides and hinder our efforts to find real solutions.

One such significant solution will be the modernization of homeless shelter services at 310 Division Street, Cobourg. Northumberland County and the Town of Cobourg are currently finalizing an agreement to support the relocation of services to this new facility. This partnership is a critical step toward addressing the urgent need for more comprehensive homelessness services in our community.

I hear and understand the frustration. I want to assure you that the County is using every resource at our disposal to address chronic homelessness. From enhancing shelter spaces and investing in street outreach services to implementing rent supplement programs and building rent-geared-to-income housing, our approached is comprehensive. We are also working within municipal networks to engage the provincial and federal governments on funding models, and advocate for increased investment in addiction and mental health services to get at the heart of this matter.

This situation does stem from broad systemic challenges that will require time to address meaningfully. I encourage everyone to join us in this effort by directing your energy into positive actions that support local agencies and organizations working tirelessly to aid those in need. There are numerous ways we can each help make a difference for, and stimulate change in, our community:

  • Volunteer: Many local organizations need volunteers to assist with outreach, food distribution, support services, and non-profit board governance.
  • Donate: Contributions of money, food, clothing, and other essentials to reputable organizations can make a significant difference in the lives of those in need.
  • Advocate: Support policies and initiatives that address the root causes of homelessness, such as affordable housing, mental health services, and addiction treatment.

I invite community members to also continue engaging with County Council. Share your experience and input on constructive ways we can improve outcomes – whether in-person by making delegations at meetings, via letters or email, or by participating in community consultations. Our community’s strength has always been in our ability to come together, support one another, and seek compassionate solutions.

Work is progressing to improve services and supports for people in need in Northumberland. The fact remains, more work is yet to be done. Let’s turn our collective concern into positive action. By working together, we can help those in need access safer, more stable living situations.

End of statement.

I presume that Brian’s reference to “Blog posts and social media commentary” is directed to this site but no-one from the County has bothered to contact me in any way. However, I urge anyone who wishes to comment on this that they try to be constructive and positive. It seems that the county is listening.

I would also comment that although there are certainly negative comments with strong criticisms, so far I have not seen “hate speech” despite Brian’s allegation of that. If anyone sees hate speech on this blog, let me know and if I agree, it will be deleted.

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MAL
1 month ago

Brian
Following your recommendations, I advocate that the encampment squatters be moved closer to their most ardent supporters.
I am sure citizens of Cobourg would donate to hiring buses and volunteer to load the squatters and their tents to the lovely green spacious lawns of Greenwood Coalition.
Ask Olena what she thinks of that !

Tucker
Reply to  MAL
1 month ago

Where can I donate. Let’s get on with it.

Rob
1 month ago

If Warden BO does in fact read this blog, I wonder how he is feeling about releasing the statement? Does he feel it achieved what he hoped it would? Did he engage people to volunteer, donate and advocate?

I hope these clearly articulated responses to his poorly conceived statement help to shed a little light on the reality and gravity of the situation. A Brighton resident, patronizing Cobourg taxpayers from his seat in the County Building wasn’t helpful.

We are frustrated and we must have better leadership.

The idea of reselling or rethinking 310D is a great one. Its not too late, but someone has to humble themselves and admit it was a mistake.

That’s leadership!

Sandpiper
1 month ago

I think the Majority at least on this site Agree that the County made a Big Mistake in The Acquisition of 310 Division
That Minimal Home work , Research , or Concern for the Resident , & Surrounding Neighbourhoods & Business of Cobourg , or the Magnitude of this Growing Provincial Issue Were even Considered
Obviously the Building is not suited for the Needs , Not Large enough or in an Appropriate peaceful Location
Nor are Full Proper supports and services being provided . This is merely another Blunder and Make work project for the County .

From reading this Blog again we all seem to agree that supports such as
Housing , Rehab , Obviously Job Retraining after some sort of skills acescents , Mental Health
Mandatory Programs , and last but least Financial controls and education .

This property should be resold or used for assisted senior living , or a Handi cap Respite home center for families needing short term relief from caring for a family member young or old in their own homes as those spots in most Retirement / Nursing facilities and Booked months and months in advance if available at all ..

Give me a break
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 month ago

Great suggestions but most politicians have not grasped “out of the box thinking” and are guided by staff or consultants who themselves don’t grasp the thought of thinking outside their cubicles …..

Old Sailor
1 month ago

Everyone on the Northumberland County Council should meet at the Tim’s at Brook Road North and King. And together slowly walk by the encaged Brookside encampment. It could not look any more like a prison than it does today. Then look at the squalor inside the fencing and ask themselves, what is the point of putting these former human beings in a nice building like 310 Division Street. With no rules or supervision and no consequences for destroying it. They need a professional rehab facility. Not another nice residential and business area to destroy.

Rational
Reply to  Old Sailor
1 month ago

Agree.

And better yet the County Council should spend a night in the Encampment to better understand how irresponsible and dangerous the direction they are taking is.

They have to be held accountable for 310 D.

Rational
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Further proof that the County is taking the wrong direction/position on the Encampment/310 D. How can they continue to ignore the evidence? The fact that County Council fail understand/comprehend this amplifies incompetence.

Two arrested at Encampment on Saturday.

https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2024/06/17/cobourg-police-couple-arrested-at-encampment-in-cobourg-held-for-bail-no-names-released/

In my opinion, could County Council be crossing the line of position accountability?

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Tucker
Reply to  Old Sailor
1 month ago

Rumor has it that the CAO of Northumberland County left Cobourg and moved to Peterboro.

Sonya
Reply to  Tucker
1 month ago

Left her job?

Tucker
Reply to  Sonya
1 month ago

No, sold her house here in Cobourg and moved to Peterboro. Kept her job.

Lemon Cake
Reply to  Old Sailor
1 month ago

In Toronto encampments have been razed. It’s a super progressive mayor and council and yet the moment encampments in the city become a danger to others or themselves they’re taken down. Enough already. Cobourg residents are not responsible for these people or their problems and while we can all have compassion this is not a substitute for leadership. Shame on Brian Ostrander.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lemon Cake
Lemon Cake
1 month ago

What’s shocking is the utter lack of accountability here on the part of the County. Somehow Cobourgers are on the hook to show some form of radical kindness in the face of inaction on the part of anyone in charge. We’re told the problem is “systemic” and seemingly beyond an easy solution therefore no one actually needs to do anything at all and we get to sit with the consequences here and any complaint a year into this abject mess is hate speech. This is honestly the last straw and the fact that this could lead to vigilante behaviour is on the County full stop for the inaction they’ve shown going on 12 months.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Lemon Cake
1 month ago

I wouldn’t consider one defending “law abiding” rights if violated /necessary to be termed “vigilante behaviour..
“Rights ” supposedly works both ways…..we hear enough about the use of that term quite often.
Lawful necessity is the key word.

Mark Mills
1 month ago

Hey Warden, thank you for your views that are not based on fact or knowledge (opinion) You are a little out of of touch. We live in COBOURG and live with the encampment and the illegal activities that come with it. Your monthly trek from Brighton to the County HQ to attend a meeting or two does not provide you with an understanding of what residents of COBOURG are feeling or live with on a daily basis.

The poor direction you and County council have taken on the homelessness issues have hurt the COBOURG community. When reading your County homelessness report you didn’t even address the encampment issue. ( i am sure the consultant you used to provide the report could have spoken to the issue , by the way how much did that report cost us?????)

Until you have a true understanding of what the residents of Cobourg are feeling keep you opinion to yourself or walk a mile in our shoes!!!!

Sonya
Reply to  Mark Mills
1 month ago

Thank you Mark.

Aleta
Reply to  Mark Mills
1 month ago

Very well said.

Sandpiper
1 month ago

I just returned from a Road trip around Parts of Ontario with a few of my old friend s
None of the Communities short of a small area in Peterborough seemed to have this type of Homeless Situation / Organization as you will find here in Cobourg . In fact we saw very few
I believe this political sympathy and weak Policing Policy we are seeing taking place here in Northumberland & Cobourg is due in part to the Big Mistake the County made by Purchasing 310 Division with out doing their home work on the impact their course of action and continuous feelings for the Homeless would actually have on our Community and the Morality of the Tax paying residents —Enough POOR ME . We were not consulted . There are plenty of Jobs out their yes Manual labour but they are there if these people truly wanted to get ahead But they have to be civil . We owe them nothing .
I will agree that Provincial and Federal support sys and income is drastically Lacking but the Funds these people receive is for Food & Housing not NOT Drugs or any thing other than So Who at the County is supervising policing WELFAIR
and support these people and the purposeful tax money they receive Another thing the seniors have not received a proper increase in OAS & CPP either or cost of Living increases in years
We have become the County Dumping grounds and it truly is having an impact .
No matter how the Politicians wish to spin it.

How ever what we did notice is there are a lot of Empty buildings and Properties that are sitting empty around the Province and have been for a few years IE: Brookside The Lands and Forest School and Barracks
between Minden and Dorset . Secure , Fully equipped possibly furnished Sleeping accommodations Men & Women Kitchens,/ Cafeterias Class rooms , Wash rms and showers Places where ReHab , Retraining in trades etc can happen . Why do the Various affected
Counties, Wardes , Mayors MPPs not clue in and house these people where they can receive Help in Proper peaceful areas rather than stuff them into a little spot on Division where there is No Peace , Quiet or Tranquility

Moxy
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 month ago

Sandpiper, I appreciate your constructive suggestion of using unused provincial properties to house homeless people. And yes, rehab should be provided at such housing facilities along with support for residents with mental health issues.

A few months ago I saw an interview on CBC with the mayors of London, Ontario and Red Deer, Alberta where such services are being offered at community homeless shelters (particularly at the London facility, from what I understand). However, it seems from what I’ve read, that such supports will not be available at 310 Division. That concerns me. My other question is will 310 Division residents be allowed to act out in the community near the main business district with no consequences? Has the county considered the impact on the small businesses in the area if that happens? The pandemic already had a terrible impact on those downtown businesses.

The other problem is that residents might improve while staying at 310 Division, but as soon as they need to move on there are few places for them to go—little to no affordable housing in Cobourg. Such instability has been shown to undermine their efforts to stop using drugs. Living on the street contributes to people’s inability to stay off drugs and worsens mental health issues.

I gather that the lack of affordable housing in Cobourg is in part due to town council’s unwillingness to crack down on developers which fail to meet its commitment to provide affordable rental units. One recent example is a new rental building near William St.

And the province should also be held responsible for this situation. The Ford government’s low investment in social programs is a major part of the problem: Ontario underspending on social services by 3.7 billion dollars.

(https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.7225423)

I do not believe GoFund me campaigns should be generating support for those living in the encampment. Government often relies on charity to step in with band aid support for vulnerable people because government is unwilling to prioritise their needs.

At the same time, I can understand the frustration and fear of people living near the encampment and young people going to school nearby who have experienced aggressive panhandling and theft. I wish the county warden had acknowledged their experience instead of scolding people for not being compassionate.

I hope Cobourg voters will hold the province and the town to account for the social problems we face here.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Moxy
1 month ago

Good response — unfortunately other communities in this County are happy to unload their Problems on Cobourg right now . But the Solutions offered by the County and this Town are not working nor will they . Sympathy is not what’s needed to Help or Cure the problems of the Homeless Yes Economics has a great deal todo with the situation as does self discipline of the Homeless them selves .
Canadian Society Govt has got to step up
with proper Supervised Funding as required to live here in Canada this not a Third world society and inflation is a very Big Problem for everyone .
Their needs to be some Real Life Real Time Economics applied and Supervised
We have more Govt Employees here in Can than any other Country all doing Minimal
work for Max Pay , Benefits and Pensions Supervision , Retraining and Enforced Help needs to be applied when and where people can no longer fend or make proper decisions for them selves –That’s both Mentally & Physically
Back in my day if you were unable to look after your self or you were a repeat Offender
the Courts gave you a choice Jail Time or Military service This could be helping others in the time of disaster etc not just fighting for your country But you were Helped , Feed , Retrained , Dried out and made useful to society and yourself once again .

Dave
Reply to  Moxy
1 month ago

Don’t see if that way Moxy – I believe the problems which have created this stem from a higher government governance with weak drug laws and inattention to housing as they push their ongoing large immigration policies with no consideration of where people are going to live. A stepping stone to sobriety the shelters that offer support systems, from there they step back to family that refused housing them while they were using, others a room, shared accommodation, food banks, assisted job placement – it is all there if an addict chooses to quit. You apparently are blind to the conditions of life the Liberal policies and laws have brought. Have a nice day but we disagree as to the perpetrators of the misery inflicted on law abiding citizens by these enabling laws and damaging policies.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave
Marilyn
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 month ago

Did you check out Belleville?

James Bisson
1 month ago

Response to public announcement by Warden Ostrander,
Your most recent communication on behalf of the County regarding the Brookside Encampment states the position of the County Council majority. Your description of cause, impact, and solutions the County is advancing has been consistent with the approach taken by the County since the start of the Encampment at Brookside in early September, 2023.
As a resident of Cobourg with lived experience of the impact of the Encampment, as well as being an advocate for both community safety for all and recovery/support for those affected, it is my position that the County’s actions in addressing this crisis has failed to take into consideration the negative consequences on residents, businesses, and public resources in the Town of Cobourg. 
Despite the many emails, letters, reports, delegations, consultations, and conversations both public and private with our Mayor, Cobourg Council, and Staff, the County continues to call for more feedback and communication while making decisions without consideration of our daily reality.
·     The County is not addressing the safety, security, and quality of life impact the crisis is having on the residents of Cobourg:
·     The concentration of the County’s emergency shelter resources in our Town exclusively
·     The costs to the Town of Cobourg associated with emergency and by-law services
·     The lack of financial and program oversight of community partners involved
·     The absence of a County response to address the living conditions of those living in the Encampment including health, personal safety, and basic necessities.
Since the County of Northumberland under your leadership has failed to act in the best interests of all the residents of Cobourg, including those in the Encampment, our Mayor and Council have taken action to address our concerns despite the County’s opposition.  As for residents, I believe “Enough is enough!” summarizes the general sentiment on all sides.

Brett
Reply to  James Bisson
1 month ago

Well said James. And we appreciate everything you have done and continue to do! Warden Ostrander’s media/marketing announcement, was just another example of how arrogant and incompetent he is. This is not hate speech, it’s honest criticism.

Durham Region and the Town of Whitby have done a stellar job with their LBS. It’s not surrounded by a residential community. And it has lot’s of space for the residents to freely walk around and get outside on the property. 310 doesn’t have a blade of grass, the residents have no place to walk or get fresh air without walking out to the busiest street in Cobourg. All James Bisson, and other brilliant business leaders, and local Cobourg citizens have asked, is that Northumberland County put this shelter in a Green Space. Cobourg – Port Hope – Brighton – Campbellford – Roseneath – Grafton – Colborne – Hastings – Bewdley. GREEN SPACE. Don’t put it in a residential area or downtown area.

Are_n
1 month ago

I think the tone of his letter/rant is a true indication of how County Council feels about Cobourg and the law abiding citizens that have long been suffering the effects of the drug addled encampment dwellers.

Cobourg council needs to stiffen their spines and not give in to demands that the bylaw regulating 310 Division be weakened. No negotiating with County Council on this. Draw a line and stick with it.

As someone living in the middle of the new ground zero (310 area) I’d like to again mention that we have rights too. Rights to safety and security. Rights to live without fear of assaults and break ins. The right to a peaceful neighborhood etc. All of these seem to be getting surrendered and it is long past time for it to stop.

Lesley
1 month ago

His statement, WOW!

Some thoughts and questions:

There is compassion for those who are unsheltered/homeless, but it’s run out for the thieving, polluting, assaulting and abusive drug addicts. Please do not insult our community by not making this distinction.

There are drug abusers who have families in town who would take them in if they followed some basic house rules, namely, “don’t do drugs in my house”.

Does the County financially support the increased use of Cobourg’s EMS services? If not, step up…

I hope the powers that be are ready when the encampment is dismantled to make ensure they don’t band altogether to terrorize another neighbourhood.

Space should be found for them in each of the cities within Northumberland County so they are dispersed. Share the wealth, so to speak.
Would a de-centralized market make it more difficult for the dealers and enablers? I hope so.

And…Hate speech?
Well, on one of the Facebook pages I did see Sissy Hankshaw (Missy Maclean’s alias) tell someone, “Don’t be a dick” (she’s made more derogatory comments though).

Local
Reply to  Lesley
1 month ago

Sissy Hankshaw and Missy MacLean are not the same person. I wonder what else you’ve made mistaken assumptions about?

Lesley
Reply to  Local
1 month ago

Let me know…open to enlightenment.

Jet
Reply to  Local
1 month ago

Missy Sissy. Whatever. Two peas in a pod.
Screechy noise.

marya
Reply to  Lesley
1 month ago

Write on Lesley!
I was thinking along the same lines about Brian’s reference to hate speech and derogatory comments, not presented on this blog, yet came from two other of the tenters’ advocates and enablers – one male and one female – which are on well documented videos by Pete Fisher. The Cobourgians that I know are highly insulted by the Warden’s Statement.

Cindi
Reply to  Lesley
1 month ago

They are not the same person, Sissy Hankshaw is a rude, obnoxious individual who lives in I believe, Ottawa, she used to live in Cobourg. It is not her real name, and her rude comments do not help the encampment.

Downtowner
Reply to  Cindi
1 month ago

Bad manners on display help no one in this situation ….pro or con

Lesley
Reply to  Cindi
1 month ago

I stand corrected — there are so many similarities between the 2 and her profile pic appears to be MM.
I stand by all the other comments though.

Marilyn
1 month ago

It is very clear that more affordable housing is needed but who would want to rent to some of these people with mental health issues and addictions. I recently watched a report on the news about some landlords in Ottawa who had purchased some row house units and renovated them to rent. The city approached them asking if they would be willing to rent to those in desperate need of low income housing. They were assured that they would receive their rent each month from the City of Ottawa and outreach workers would be checking on these people on a regular basis. Well these people totally trashed and destroyed these rental units. Toilets plugged up and full of feces, garbage every where and drug paraphernalia left. Clearly no one was checking in on them. One unit was so badly damaged that the owner said he could not afford to repair it and would have to let the bank repossess it. I agree these people need help and the government needs to build more rehabilitation facilities to house and treat these people. We have jails to incarcerate criminals who have broken the law and protect the public. We need more institutions to help these people and protect the public.

Dave
Reply to  Marilyn
1 month ago

Agreed – please see earlier reply to Downtowner below.

Give me a break
Reply to  Marilyn
1 month ago

Same thing happened on Division street where the home was condemned …… these folks need a different set of rules and supervision and not by the self proclaimed “king of the encampment …..

Cate
Reply to  Marilyn
1 month ago

Exactly- and it’s not the private landlord’s responsibility to fix this problem. I have a rental unit myself that’s essentially my kids college fund. We worked hard to obtain it and I could lose everything if I rent it to the wrong person. I’d be the first in line to help (and even offer a deal) if it meant helping someone in need- but I can’t take a chance that my unit would be destroyed beyond repair and I’d have zero recourse. Everything I worked for and my kids future would be gone. These people need professional help that housing won’t fix (look what they did to the houses they were living in). Why are advocates not teaching basic life skills instead of telling these people that their lifestyle is totally acceptable? This lifestyle is not going to help them obtain the housing they want. They could have at least encouraged encampment residents to act orderly and not commit crime. They would have garnered a lot more sympathy/support that way.

Sonya
Reply to  Cate
1 month ago

I have a family member make the mistake of renting their house to drug addicts while they took a job in another city for two years. The renter never in two years paid one month of rent. It took two years of driving back and forth to try and evict them. The stress and financial strain was horrible. These people destroyed their house which cost them tens of thousands of dollars. This young couple lost their house their vehicles and everything they owned because of these horrible people that have no thought of how this affects other people.
This was my daughter’s and her husband’s dream home when she graduated university with a PHD. All through high school and university she worked so hard to put herself through school. She never asked me for a penny. At one point she phoned me and said she had no food to eat and hadn’t eaten in days because they had to pay rent where they were living and also a mortgage payment on their rented house. I’m sure the drug addicts had their drugs though.
It is irresponsible for government to have Housing First. These people are totally irresponsible and will destroy everything around them.

Downtowner
Reply to  Marilyn
1 month ago

It is a shame that when the city of Ottawa reaches to landlords to house people in need, with an assurance of rental income both get a slap for their effort. The city will have little leverage to convince any other rental supplier to commit to this seemingly risk free venture without also , now, committing to paying for losses. Shame on the renters and the enablers that wish us to accept this as normal life.

Opal Rosamond
Reply to  Marilyn
1 month ago

This destruction has occurred in many communities who have made provision for homeless. Please know there is a big difference in people who have insufficient funds and those who simply use drugs. The people who are poor do not destroy property; it is the drug users who are destructive.
My taxes in Cobourg have now reached in excess of $7000. for a condo.
i simply can’t afford more, so my sympathy is not for people who are hell bent on ruining their own lives and those around them.

Cate
Reply to  Opal Rosamond
1 month ago

Very true. And unfortunately the drug addicts make things harder for them. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t help someone who is struggling to make ends meet, or on odsp (but not a drug addict). But the addicts are using up all of the resources. Also, I would not consider renting to someone on odsp even though I know there are many who would pay rent and not destroy the place – it’s just too risky unfortunately and sucks for those that really need a leg up.

Informed
Reply to  Opal Rosamond
1 month ago

Our taxes are 6500 now and we are looking elsewhere. Lived here all our lives

Last edited 1 month ago by Informed
Cate
Reply to  Informed
1 month ago

So are ours and we’re up the road from the encampment. Soon I’m going to start dumping my garbage there to at least save the 4.75. It’s totally outrageous and unacceptable.

Rational
1 month ago

Northumberland County has a population of 89,365 (2021 Census).

At the 2022 Election Ostrander won Mayor of Brighton (population 12K) with 2,533 votes. Martin, Mayor of Cramahe, (population 6K) was acclaimed – but in 2018 won with 1,289 votes.

Neither have a mandate to make decisions or provide guidance for their Municipalities, let alone a County the size of Northumberland. Yet these two individuals are driving the 310 D project and making irresponsible decisions that are ruining Cobourg (population 20,519 (2021) and growing.

Cobourg Leadership has to stand up to the County Council and challenge any of its decisions, as IMO, they are unqualified/do not have a strong mandate to deal at a County level with issues presented today.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Give me a break
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

You forgot to mention the Port Hope mayor who is quite silent given that Cobourg is so close and GWC resides there ….. good points about Brian and Mandy NIMBY attitude

Kathleen
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Very good point Rational!
Just as David Piccini was voted for by Northumberland citizens, so should our County Chairperson be voted by Northumberland citizens. That would be a true Democratic process.
Maybe this is something the Province should mandate?

Dave
1 month ago

How is the Warden planning on getting them into 310? Transition House stood empty. As far as we have been reading the Warden is very distressed with the by-law presented by Mayor Cleveland which outlines the governance to protect the rights of the community in the operation of 310 which was foisted on Cobourg. I don’t see it is anyone’s right to be in public in a drug dazed state with the attendant behaviour the community has been experiencing. I suggest as another poster did we move this project to Brighton and Warden Ostrander’s yard as he is so in favour overlooking the fact many of the current campers do not originate from Cobourg. With past experience running a halfway house I can assure the Warden rules are very necessary.

Mother-in-waiting
1 month ago

This comment has not to do with the warden’s letter specifically, but it does address homelessness.
We just this week discovered our adult son to have no where to live, no job, no means currently to find or pay for a living space, nor food.
We learned that he has had a boyfriend living with him who has an addiction ( and no job, no living space, no means, etc)
We are in the process to try to help without enabling.
It is a very difficult place to be in as additionally it appears the level of hostility, entitlement and lack of respect for our space (and our lifestyle choices) is contributing to a breakdown between the parties.
Alcohol/Drug addiction changes the brain.
Our son has two degrees. Speaks several languages, is highly competent at Anything attempted, is cultured and charming.
Or I should say- Was all of these things.
Now, however, the life choices he is making has turned him into an illogical, mean spirited, angry, accusatory being.
Even his previous roommate ( who holds the rental agreement for the apartment they lived in) had to evict him ( legally) due to the continuous toxic, chaotic and disrespectful behaviour exhibited.
There is actually no hope when a person chooses the path of addiction, until the person becomes aware and then chooses to save him/herself.
This is mostly not a homelessness crisis.
This is a cartel crisis.
An unsolvable one for parents and their children who choose to become affected ( addicted).
Unsure of the point of this story.
Except that when it is relayed from a personal level, by a caring parent, it is a very sad one- with no apparent resolution – by those standing by an watching the “car crash” happen in real time.
I never beloeved, before this week, that it could happen to anyone.

Sonya
Reply to  Mother-in-waiting
1 month ago

I’m so sorry this has happened to you. It’s happened to me also. I found the best thing to do is to seek help for yourself. Counciling and Al anon are free.

Mother-in-waiting
Reply to  Sonya
1 month ago

Thanks for good advice and best of luck for you and your family.

Sonya
Reply to  Mother-in-waiting
1 month ago

Thank you.

Downtowner
Reply to  Mother-in-waiting
1 month ago

Many are affected by this “cartel crisis” your story is however very personal and l feel your pain. As parents are at a loss to solve their problems on their own ..this is where Government institutional housing and rehabilitation facilities will quite possibly be recognized as necessary . It will not look like the Ontario Hospitals of 50 years ago but there are many ways to improve the care . Years ago it was recognized that families did not have the knowledge or facility to help care for loved ones who struggled with physical and mental disability or were incapable of responsibility for their own independent lives .These operations were in place to give comfort to the individuals and assure families had a safe space for their loved one and all necessities addressed.Forward to today, these facilities would not group all problems as one( as the County is consistently trying to do) and different accomodations for separate challenges should be constructed. This hopelessness can invade any of our lives ,proper applications of resources could go a long way to resolution. Everything old can be new …..and improved.

Mother-in-waiting
Reply to  Downtowner
1 month ago

Good points
Interestingly, we contacted a private facility with a very good program which has an opening. Unfortunately, the addict has to choose to change their life by agreeing to attend.
Instead, our son was insulted by the offer.

Downtowner
Reply to  Mother-in-waiting
1 month ago

Sad, there is a saying that wisdom comes with age….l hope for your Son it comes sooner and his life gets back on track….so much potential to be shared.

Kevin
Reply to  Mother-in-waiting
1 month ago

Mother-in-waiting, thanks for the story. You decided to write it and share. That is one of the points, sharing your personal experience. No doubt you are suffering so “talking” to others will help you. At one time it was the norm to suffer in silence if you were an abused woman or child for example. That was not good for anyone. However, things can go too far the other way. In your story it is clear your son was better when not addicted, and could be again. You have hope. Without hope there is great despair and depression which can lead to very bad things.

You are not alone, things might get worse for you, keep talking to people to help you. Always let your son know you are there to help him, which I believe you are, when he is ready for help. I am also suffering, for different reasons, related to children. I will always make time to talk to you.

Hopefully people who support the right to use drugs, and support people who are addicted, read your story. Eventually, we can hope, these people will understand that addicts are not capable of making decision in their own best interest. Maybe, just maybe, they will start to realize addicts need to break their addictions. Your son could be working and contributing to society. Don’t lose the hope that one day he will decide to get help.

Maybe that is also a point of your story. For the Warden to read it and start to understand why “There has been a rising tone of hostility directed towards those living unsheltered.” People want to help but the addicts, not being able to make good decisions, have refused. The Warden and the supports of drug use need to understand this. The Warden’s words … I don’t need to finish this thought, many other commenters all ready have.

Lemon Cake
1 month ago

What an awful statement for an elected official to make. He doesn’t even live in Cobourg. Online commentary is pretty much all we have for local news so where else would he suggest we get information or share views? If this represents the views of the county government then they need to resign. Such a depressing view from the people tasked with stewarding our community resources.

Give me a break
1 month ago

310 Division is mentioned in many comments ….. just note that the new Ploughmans. lodge has been under construction for a number of years now and doesn’t look near completion ….. with the same management working on 310 what makes one think that this facility will not open for some time …….

Kathleen
1 month ago

Brian says…”Recently, however, we have seen some of these concerns take an unproductive turn. There has been a rising tone of hostility directed towards those living unsheltered”.
Finish the sentence, Brian. Why have these concerns taken an unproductive turn? Could it be in retaliation because the unsheltered addicts break into residents properties, stealing their stuff, screaming at all hours of the night, loitering, littering, polluting, arguing, fighting. But go on Brian…
“I hear and understand your frustration”.
No Brian. Clearly, you don’t.

Oh, and I love the part when Brian says, “…significant solution will be the modernization of homeless shelter services at 310 Division Street”. Oh right…the same place the County ramrodded down Cobourg’s throat among tons of protest? The same place that has caused many businessess in the area to put their properties up for sale?

If it were me, I would have simply said….
‘Your frustration is heard.
We emplore you to let cooler heads prevail. Please do not take this to the next level because if you do, you are no better than the addicts”. Set an example for yout children.

Kevin
1 month ago

I’m a little late to the party as there is already a lengthy list of comments. Most of my thoughts have already been included below.
I think JD did a great job of being unbiased in the reporting of this statement by the Warden. JD even acknowledges The Cobourg News Blog may be the target of some of the Warden’s comments.
In at least one comment below there is the question of why has it taken so long for the Warden to say anything. Perhaps, and this is just speculation, his statement and the new fence around the encampment are an indication that Brookside is close to being sold. Change may be coming soon. Where will the encampment go? My guess is someplace else in Cobourg. It could be good for some but not all of us.
Overall I think the Warden’s statement is a sign of the times of Woke, Critical Race Theory, LGBTQ… (especially Trans), Hamas supporters, etc. going to extremes to protect the rights of a few at the expense of the many good people. The statement does nothing to bring us together, it only deepens the division we have in Cobourg.

Douglas
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

Overall I think the Warden’s statement is a sign of the times of Woke, Critical Race Theory, LGBTQ… (especially Trans), Hamas supporters, etc

Yes, and the Metzitzah B’peh supporters as well.

Cindi
Reply to  Douglas
1 month ago

‘Splain, Lucy !

Gerry
Reply to  Cindi
1 month ago

Cindi, I Googled Metzitzah B’peh.

Suffice it to say it is a part of the circumcision ritual (bris) when done according to Jewish Religious Law. Here is the link if you are interested.

The definition I read is not for the faint of heart,

https://www.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/safe-bris.page

Last edited 1 month ago by Gerry
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Leslie
1 month ago

From the interview with our MPP David Piccini in Today’s Northumberland:

“There are many who want to normalize drug use in our community. They’re not welcome here in our community. We are not going to normalize hard drugs in our community. I’m vehemently against those who seek to do that. If you want to vote for legalized hard drug use, there are other parties you can vote for – don’t vote for me because it’s never going to happen under my watch.”

What a contrast to Warden Ostrander and his hate speech nonsense!

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
Give me a break
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

The question no one seems to address is how to get folks off “hard drugs” ….. not that easy ……

Kathleen
Reply to  Give me a break
1 month ago

Grass Roots must be addressed.
It should be mandatory for children to finish high school. And they must be able to read and write! No “pushing them along”. Whatever happened to Truant Officers? All forms of Govt must invest in education!
Families are too fractured. Learn to get along. If you want to fight with your mate – take it outside. Not in front of the kids.
And don’t have kids unless you have your own head on straight.

Give me a break
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Tough talk by our MPP who doesn’t live in Cobourg ….. rather than making this statement what would he recommend as a solution ….. the usual lot of talk and no traction …….

Sonya
Reply to  Give me a break
1 month ago

Don’t worry about Piccini. He’s always in Cobourg meeting with the citizens. Asking questions and listening. Picinni has been to the encampment several times. Too bad Brian wouldn’t involve himself more in what’s really happening in Cobourg. How many times has Brian been to the encampment?

Give me a break
Reply to  Sonya
1 month ago

I guess I have never seen Pete interview David at the encampment ….. most of his posting are photo ops. Hopefully the County members can come down to see the encampment first hand and speak to the folks there …. Another invisible politician is our MP …. Has he visited the encampment and offer solutions for his leader

Sonya
Reply to  Give me a break
1 month ago

I believe I’ve seen Mr. Picinni interviewed by Pete Fisher at the beach encampment and again at the brookside encampment.
I would really like to respond to you but according to Mr. Drapers rule again you are degenerating into criticism of federal politicians.

Moxy
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

I don’t think there are any Ontario political parties advocating “the normalisation of hard drugs in Cobourg.” What a polarising statement! I wish MPP David Piccini would take a stand with his own party to invest more money in the social programs we need to support people with addiction and mental health problems who need housing.

The Ford government’s low investment in social programs is a major part of the problem: Ontario underspending on social services by 3.7 billion dollars.

(https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.7225423)

I do not believe GoFund me campaigns should be generating support for those living in the encampment. Government often relies on charity to step in with band aid support for vulnerable people because government is unwilling to prioritise their needs.

Sonya
Reply to  Moxy
1 month ago

Piccini did make a stand today. He listened to the majority of the town and stayed true to his commitment.
He also made a statement about funds and support: we’ve always been there to step for the service provider(Northumberland County) when they’ve asked for funds and support.
We get it. Your duplicate comment(s) on this post seem to clearly demonstrate your distaste for the current provincial government and our town council.
Interesting no mention of how our county is failing us.
Ontario provincial parties are indeed advocating for the normalization of drugs. In addition our most vulnerable are seniors and children.

Dave
Reply to  Sonya
1 month ago

I am confused by statements that Otario provincial parties without mention of Piccini’s statement and stand – are indeed advocating for the normalization of drugs” following is what Piccini said, a direct quote –
“There are many who want to normalize drug use in our community. They’re not welcome here in our community.”
“We are not going to normalize hard drugs in our community.”
I think it is very important for voters to be made aware of the Ontario Provincial Party’s position on drug use.

Dave
Reply to  Moxy
1 month ago

With the minimum wage being raised I see no reason for expansion of social services. At very base and most pay more two sharing making minumum wage would bring in $4400 after taxes a month. Those living in an encampment should not be living there but in the many already provided support shelter housing until such a time as they are drug free, able to work and re-join society. The trouble is not lack of social services but lack of desire to change and quit. I have known over the years many without Grade 12, without ability to earn a grade 12 working full time, even people that society would consider on the lower end of the intelligence spectrum. We are not all born equal or in Leave It to Beaver homes yet as I have seen others I know of from such situations have supported themselves a life time, many having families and living in the main stream without drugs.

Downtowner
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

I recall when Social Services were called Social Assistance. If applied as assistance and not the main income in a family , gains may be made. I do believe there needs to be more accountability as to how the funds are allocated. If one is able to work and needs help with a rent top up….seems reasonable. If one is on ODSP there are portions allotted for one’s means..shelter, food. It’s not as Dave, says , a Leave it to Beaver existence, but life supported. If families are still coming up short there are agencies for food and clothing and school supplies. None of these programs have room for substance abuse . Perhaps some time and money needs to go into grass roots ,as Kathleen suggests and budget advice and education as to making a life within one’s means by seeking out all the available options to enhance and enrich our lives that don’t need a big price. Free skating in the winter a beautiful beach and swimming all summer, low cost library. We may watch summer soccer and baseball at no cost all over town. What my family did and both my spouse and l worked.

Downtowner
Reply to  Leslie
1 month ago

I am cautious in my hope that a sale of this property will result in a solution for us all .It could be , like the purchase of the Sidbrook property, well intentioned, but fail and result in what we see as a sad failure and eyesore…,.taking years to evolve. Remember, money talks and right now, with an election looming a sale is a good political move.Also where will these folks end up? The County chooses back in the downtown at 310 Division…..we will build it they will come..unlikely for permanent residence but for sure for the 24 hr. Hub and further impact in the already downtrodden residents here. Nothing to hope for here.

For Real
1 month ago

Mr Ostrander I have a brief story for you.

2 days ago I was unloading my car in my driveway on a quiet residential street in the east end of Cobourg. A female we have seen walking in and out of the encampment was walking down our street talking out loud to herself and swearing and saying she was going to just burn the house down. As I continued to unload the car I looked her way. She immediately says what the f are you looking at. I responded are you okay? She proceeded to scream every disgusting name she could call me. The full gross list. Very aggressive. Told me to F off many times as she continued walking all the way to the end of the street.
The only other thing I said to her is if you’re going to treat people that way what do you expect in return.

Mr Ostrander. What do you expect? Stop being a politician and figure out how to fairly distribute these drug induced tirades in our once peaceful neighborhoods somewhere else instead of across from 2 schools after almost a year. Get your head out of the sand and out of the office and spend some time on the streets of Cobourg. Maybe your lecture could have included an update on actual opening of 310 Division Street. Make some use of your time and get out and find the “lived experience” of your tax paying law abiding residents and store owners in the feel good town.

Figure out how you take care of some of the drug addicts in Brighton before they end up adding to our numbers in Cobourg.

Last edited 1 month ago by For Real
Cobourg taxpayer
1 month ago

Just in case Ostrander forgets to check these comments it is very easy to send him an email, google mayor of Brighton his email address is right there.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cobourg taxpayer
Scottie
1 month ago

I’ve got an even better idea than downtown Brighton for the encampment’s new home — Pres Qu’ile Provincial Park – also in Brighton – has all the amenities the campers would need because it is an actual campground. It has washrooms complete with shower facilities, probably a laundromat, campsites with electrical hookups and campfire facilities, picnic tables – Lake Ontario right on their doorstep, biking/walking trails and even a camp supply store where they can steal (no pardon me “borrow”) whatever they need! Also lots of secluded areas for clandestine meetings! What more could they ask for!!! They have on-site Park Rangers to handle whatever law enforcement would be required ! AND then Warden Ostrander could hold Sunday afternoon picnics there for all his new residents! A win-win for all…

Give me a break
Reply to  Scottie
1 month ago

Great proposal but will never happen as long as the current County Council exists …. They prefer that the challenge remain with Cobourg ….. too far for GWC and other enablers to travel to …… time to use 310 for those that need shelters ….. we also need to move the “head spokesperson” of the encampment out there to reign over the poor folks at the encampment that need professional help and not be manipulated by him …… should be a sh$& show when the encampment gets torn down …..

Andre
1 month ago

Warden Ostrander in Brighton exhibits a classic case of Luxury Beliefs. At cocktail parties he can soak in his own saintliness while Cobourg, the hate speech town, takes the hit.

Mervin
Reply to  Andre
1 month ago

Pointing out poor, often illegal, behaviour is not hate speech! I’m sure there is hate speech, even a small amount is not acceptable, but linking legitimate grievances with a small minority with extreme views is unfair. Very few people are willing to speak out in a way that represents the majority who have legitimate concerns. Warden Ostrander has let the public down by not recognizing the lived experiences of people living in areas impacted by this encampment.

Give me a break
Reply to  Mervin
1 month ago

Unfortunately the Council members are not elected but are automatically seated based on fact that they are local mayors ….. if they were elected most would not be seated there and truly represent ALL Northumberland residents.

Andre
Reply to  Mervin
1 month ago

Mervin, I agree. The warden accuses Cobourg of being rife with hate speech, while I do not. Hence my play on the town slogan, as he sees it.

At this point some progressive hurling unfounded baseless accusations of racism or hate speech or phobia just needs to be mocked and get on with your day.

Leslie
1 month ago

Many are not “concerned, frustrated or distressed”. Many are fearful for themselves, their children & elderly parents. Many may be insulted by the County’s inability to acknowledge the truth of the situation. You speak of “hostility”, “negativity”, “hate speech”and “unfounded accusations” directed towards the “unsheltered”? This is disheartening, as you have shown and continue to show zero empathy toward the constituents of Cobourg. The constituents who are constantly affected by drug-induced, criminal behaviours. 

Who is suffering Mr. Ostrander? You speak of danger? Yes, many of us have been subjected to dangerous behaviour — which is not misinformation or unfounded accusations. Surely you are privy to Cobourg Police Reports?

Please, what is your definition of “hate speech” and “discrimination”? What severs to deepen divides is Radical Activism, being bullied, harassed and gaslit when attempting to speak Truth. 

Soloutions? That is not your constituents job — it is the Police and County Professionals jobs. But first it must be acknowledged that hardcore drug addiction is the problem at the Encampment. If you are looking for soloutions, you will not come to any unless this Fact is acknowledged. 

Mr. Ostrander, your statement does not demonstrate that you understand “the frustration”. You speak only of homelessness. You do not address Safety concerns, lawlessness, violence, fears and the toll drug-induced criminal behavior is taking on the wellbeing of the citizens of Cobourg. 

You request we support local agencies and organizations VIA money and food? Sir, we pay high taxes for our Social Safety Net — that is what we do. Many do volunteer, donate and advocate for what is right. Charity is not to be boasted of on Social Media sites, it is considered by many to be a civic duty. To your point, many of your readers are also suffering financially. So it is doubly frustrating to hear this request, when we already contribute and then see wasted food, disrespect, and refusal of existing offered Professional Support Systems we currently have in place.

This statement has an inappropriate, paternalistic and accusatory disregard for the many voices of the Citizens of Cobourg. 

Scottie
1 month ago

SERIOUSLY!!!! I’ve got an idea, – let’s all volunteer our vehicles and our manpower to help the poor disadvantaged residents of the Brookside encampment, de-camp and move their campground to the lovely park in the centre of downtown Brighton — see what Mr. Ostrander has to say then!!!

Cindi
1 month ago

Define “hate speech against the homeless”….
The hate speech narrative is being weaponized to shut down any opposing opinions. So, gimme a break, homelessness is one thing, criminality, open drug use and dealing, assaults etc. Etc. Is another. People have had enough, time to clean this filthy encampment out, as you sing, don’t fence me on.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cindi
Cindi
Reply to  Cindi
1 month ago

Sorry, singing don’t fence me in

New to town
1 month ago

He is completely missing the point.

Cathy
1 month ago

Seriously Brian? You ask the residents to show compassion for those living at the encampment. However, what about residents whose homes have been broken into, property stolen(sorry, borrowed), kids harassed while going to/coming from school, as well as assaults. It’s a two way street Brian, respect is earned, not given freely. Although they are addicts and unhoused does not give them the right to turn our town upside down with criminal activity, and turning a once beautiful property into a garbage dump. I can’t imagine with this current attitude that 310 will be the same, with little to no support for residents in the immediate area of 310 division.

Jade
1 month ago

Oh Brian seriously ? Why has it taken you MONTHS to say anything? No reply to any emails but your asking for emails ? Your group has done NOTHING for months about any complaints and now you make this statement? YOU bought 310 IN COBOURG expecting us to live with it with no regard to anyone or anything. Just get it out of YOUR community and all will be just fine right ? NOT ! Come live here for a month and really SEE what the residents have to live with. Why not put money into your words and actually help this situation. Ah yes.. you did, by buying a building in the heart of town , MY TOWN and be done with it right ? Until you see the abuse we take you shouldn’t really be asking anyone to do anything. And don’t try and show concerns now when you have ignored every single person that has reached out to you since this encampment came.

Alison Hughes
1 month ago

This would be a really great statement (although it doesn’t really say anything we don’t already know) if it didn’t include the attempt to gaslight law abiding tax paying citizens into thinking they are “the bad guys”. There have been a number of similar statements by our community “leaders” in the past who seem to be determined to sabotage their own alleged good intentions by making false accusations of “hate” against the decent citizens of this town. It is not appropriate to expect the community to shut up (except for “positive & constructive” comments) when they are experiencing ONGOING open drug use, thefts, assaults, trespass, general public mischief & the like. It is also not appropriate to insult the intelligence of the community by conflating the merely “unhoused” with the addicted and/or mentally ill (something the general population was formerly accused of so this really doesn’t make any sense…). We get it & we know what needs to be done & we know it’s going to take time. What we don’t need is to be constantly insulted by seeing no acknowledgement of the very REAL threats the community faces (notwithstanding soft words like “frustration” being used) on top of everything else. It just causes people who might otherwise be very helpful in the work required to shut down.
For Shame!

David
1 month ago

Brian’s recent statement on the homelessness crisis in Cobourg is well-intentioned, but it fails to capture the lived experiences and genuine concerns of our community members who are directly affected by these issues day in and day out. As residents of Cobourg, we feel compelled to respond, not out of hostility, but out of a need for our voices to be heard and our realities acknowledged.
Yes, the encampment at the former Brookside property has indeed laid bare the challenges we face as a community. It’s not just a visual nuisance; it’s a daily disruption that impacts our safety, well-being, and sense of security. The regular presence of emergency services—firefighters, police, and paramedics—responding to incidents in the area highlights the strain on our resources and the urgency of finding effective solutions; solutions that those trespassing at Brookside may not like.
Brian talks about compassion and humanity, and most of us agree. But compassion must also extend to those of us who are directly impacted by the consequences of homelessness in our neighborhood. The daily disturbances—shouting, disturbances at all hours of the night, theft, and violence—are not abstract concepts for us; they are our daily reality. Brian does not live in Cobourg.
Brian also points to the modernization of homeless shelter services at 310 Division Street as a solution. Yet, he fails to address a crucial point: there was no meaningful consultation with the residents living in the encampment about this decision. It’s funny that a plan meant to benefit the community is being rolled out without considering the very people it is intended to support.
It’s not about denying help to those in need; it’s about ensuring that solutions are effective and considerate of all stakeholders. The individuals in the encampment have demonstrated a reluctance to abide by community norms and rules, making it uncertain if they will opt for services offered at 310 Division Street. This raises valid questions about the practicality and effectiveness of such initiatives.
As residents, we cherish our rights—rights to safety, security, and a peaceful living environment. These rights shouldn’t be compromised or overshadowed by the rights of those who choose not to respect the community they reside in. If peaceful protests emerge in response to the encampment and its impacts, they should be seen as a legitimate expression of community concern and a call for accountability.

Downtowner
Reply to  David
1 month ago

David, so very true your opinion of the structuring of the eventual use of 310 Division. It first of all will seem to be duplicating services already provided within our social services network. At this point counsellors are remotely working( as previously commented upon) to assist the camp residents therefore unlikely they will attend this address IF , a big IF, at this point even relocate there. This seems a costly relocation of office space that would reduce space for intended clients.l do see the “HUB” being used for food, warmth, and washrooms, especially if it has the same swinging door policy as previous free assistance program has given. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the downtown as the plan is to have operations 24 hrs….it will result in the same problems Transition House 10 Chapel resulted in….. personified to continuing around the clock. The social service outreach which we are all paying for is not being directed purposefully at this point and needs new direction and limitations. This will not be popular but needs to be explored.,.it will be less harmful to communities than what countrywide encampments are foisting upon us now under the guise of Human rights violations and the ridiculous Waterloo decision..,which professes an abuse but law does not provide a solution. Similarly our County is throwing money without a firm plan for solution or relief

Dave
Reply to  Downtowner
1 month ago

Downtowner you make very valid points. There is only one solution. Hard drug use is illegal and if in the throes of addiction court ordered mandates to rehab and jail. Mental insitutions must be rebuilt and opened. Yes under the current laws and sea changes that have come to be and of course human rights which have been twisted new laws will have to be made as well as new institutions for these purposes built. I don’t see human rights as enabling the trampling of the rights of law abiding society and the health of our society.

Downtowner
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Yes, Dave, many benevolent efforts have been made to assist those in need and create a move toward an equitable society where there are no struggles. The Human Rights charter was developed and now is being massaged to apply to situations it was not intended for.l worked in what was the Ontario hospital, before it was dismantled to allow all people back into society to enjoy life as others.Let me make this comparison, the encampment are not living as others yet rely on the support of others to exist….an institution….similar to a facility wherein all needs were attended to ( needs, not wants) funded by a government (our taxes) . Isn’t that what they are asking for now but also including freedom to be accepted as illegal drug users and providers? Address drug addiction as the problem it is with treatment and parameters that will reign it in and recognize that their encampment is an institution without walls and code of conduct.

Jane
Reply to  Downtowner
1 month ago

Downtowner – the residents at the Ontario Hospitals had stability, structure and routine in their lives. They had activities which provided many with a purpose – many great artists, woodworkers, etc. Sure there were issues that should have been better managed however, closing the hospitals under the guise of integrating these individuals back into society to enjoy life as others as it was their right has done exactly the opposite for many. The supports were promised but never provided – a case worker visited for a few hours once or twice a week to ensure they were doing ok and taking their meds … check the boxes on the form, fill it out and submit as complete. Client progressing well. Meanwhile, the client is not taking their meds, society is not trained in mental health issues so give them a wide berth and the person who previously had 24/7 care suddenly find themselves lost. Perfect opportunity for an opportunistic someone to befriend them … guaranteed income and a home. Suddenly, this person is sleeping on their couch and then they bring their friends – hey, try this, it will feel great. Now, this person who had structure, routine and purpose is now addicted to drugs, has been evicted from their home, is homeless and no longer has the promised support. How did we help these people successfully integrate into society? We didn’t, we failed them exponentially! Take these individuals out of the homeless numbers and the numbers will drastically reduce – give them back their lives! Open up mental health residential facilities for those that need them – whether it be 24/7 or outpatient. Provide treatment to get them off the drugs they never should’ve been exposed to in the first place. Give them what was promised – supports to re-integrate into society for those that are able to.

Downtowner
Reply to  Jane
1 month ago

Agree, Jane. De -institutionalized folks were left without a standard of care that they were well accustomed to and they and their families relied upon…..dental care, psychiatric service,medical care, personal care, diet consideration( diabetes, allergies,consistency) recreation, entertainment and the workshop where small wages were earned, all existed at 100 University ave. East in the 1970’s….l worked there.Yes, there were a few mistakes,one being almost all maladies were grouped together and some separation would have helped to start some on the path of Independence,if possible, or monitored living…..truly monitored with a 24 hr. Outreach. I know these were valuable residences and feel as you a reincarnation of residential living for those overwhelmed or unable to function on their own needs reviving.

Aleta
Reply to  David
1 month ago

I agree with what you have said except for the first line of your post. I do not believe it was well-intentioned at all. His tone indicates that he is truly out of touch, sanctimonious and self-righteous while he clearly has no idea of what is really going on here. How dare he suggest that we go out and volunteer to help these people when we the citizens/taxpayers are suffering much more than the campers in this scenario? What exactly needs to happen before local politicians recognize the mess they have created that continues to get worse by the day?

Rob
1 month ago

I do hope that Brian reads our posts. I hope he thinks deeply about what Cobourg taxpayers living nearest to the encampment are going through and the impact on their MPAC. I hope this weekend he walks alone on King Street East, after 9:00 p.m. and feels the sense of safety and security that has been lost in the feel good town. I hope he needs to use an ATM after 7:00 p.m. in downtown Cobourg. I hope he needs to use a public restroom while sitting in Rotary Park.
 
I suspect only one of these things happen because Brian lives in Brighton. But he won’t
let that to stop him from attempting to explain how it feels to live in Cobourg. This felt like little more than a 310D marketing campaign and virtue signaling with a disingenuous dash of sympathy for Cobourg taxpayers. Almost no mention of the significant challenges Cobourg residents are facing, increased crime and violence and the decimation of our sleepy little town.
 
The suggestion that hate speech is being used to target unsheltered neighbours demonstrates
both a lack of understanding of what hate speech is and is an attempt to normalize drug addiction and voluntary homelessness. These are not neighbours! These are illegal encampers, some/many of whom have refused treatment, support and housing and that are being propped up by GoFundMe dollars and ideological enablers. Telling Cobourg residents how they can make a difference was insulting and patronizing.

We expect better Brian.

Cobourg Citizen that has Compassion
1 month ago

Two comments and both are negative. Way to go Town of Cobourg.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cobourg Citizen that has Compassion
Local Cobourgian

Plus a sanctimonious foolish one !

Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas
1 month ago

Well said, thanks for sharing John. The times are most difficult indeed.

Cobourg taxpayer
1 month ago

I have a great deal of sympathy for the working homeless however the illegal encampment residents I observe multiple times a day due to proximity are a different beast. Theft and breakin attempts in my neighbourhood have skyrocketed since September 2023. Open drug use and drug paraphernalia strewn about have also increased over the last year. Assaults and socially abhorrent behaviour ( defecating in public, hoarding, garbage everywhere) have also increased. My sympathy is gone. Who sits for over a year, as the squatters are, waiting for handouts? What have they done to improve their lot in life, other than claim they are victims? As taxpayers struggle financially at every turn how can county council expect sympathy for those that, by all appearances, have done nothing to help themselves? How about all county taxpayers help pay for daily CPS visits that are costing the Cobourg taxpayer 100000s of thousands of dollars? In the fall the chief said the encampment costs $650-$700 per day. Anyone want to add that up?

Duchy
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
1 month ago

Stop giving them drugs and free hand outs as it does not help them at all.
What they are doing now only increases the problems we have. Giving them drugs and freebies will only increase the problems we have with no end in sight. Give them the help and attention they need when they stop using drugs and are off the giving wagon and they begin to realize that.
This will never stop as we see with what is transpiring around us unless we say, “ Enough is Enough “ I too have sympathy for the working homeless but the majority are using the system by using the overburdened taxpayers and making a mockery of it.

Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Warden Ostrander omits any mention of protecting Cobourg’s most vulnerable — our children and our seniors — but only talks of those who have chosen to trespass and otherwise ignore the normal expectations of civilized society. Why the omission? Why no details of how Cobourg’s businesses and residents will be protected from the impacts of 310 Division?

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
Downtowner
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

No comment on 310 because l venture the County still thinks it may pull off a switcheroo with the Town and be victorious in having the protective bylaw amended in favour of this poorly planned , ill thought out,knee jerk purchase.