Hamilton resident Jean Fair appeared as a delegate to the Board of Health Monday to speak against plans to install a supervised injection site on Barton Street East near Lotteridge. As part of her presentation she asked councillors a list of questions about ensuring that local retail businesses will not be disaffected and how children will be kept safe from drug dealers. “How will you make it seem like a normal community?” she asked. Councillor Nrinder Nann, who is supporting the site, took exception to Fair’s use of the word “normal” and also challenged the accuracy of the 1,200 signature petition that area residents had circulated against the injection site.
Ms. Fair has shared a written response to Councillor Nann’s questions and copied the members of the Board of health as follows:
I was asked three questions following my delegation on March, 20th, 2023. More informed answers follow, as my intent is, and has been, to provide you with the truth and clarity…
What is normal?
• It is not a neighbour looking into her yard, seeing a woman from Old Cathedral [OC] washing clothes in her swimming pool, and having to call the police.
• It’s also not a neighbour having an inebriated OC woman knock on her door later in the evening, asking to spend the night…and leaving with a police escort.
• Nor is it Good Shepherd having to hire Paladin Security to mitigate the interface between their clients at 46 West Avenue South and the encampments.
• Nor is having to call the police because of drug transactions.
• Much has changed to the negative in the last 3 years…there are many examples for Ward 3..
Did I vet the signatures on the petition?
• No, I did not. I briefly saw the originals.
• No original petitions have as yet been given to City Hall.
• On December 15, 2021, copies of 1016 petition signatures were presented to City Council.
• On February 13th, 2023, those 1016 copies plus 160 more were presented to the Board of Health, for a total of 1,176 signatures.
• They were presented to two different groups…assuming that there would be no interaction between the groups.
Are you aware of “Successful Excellent Models” for treatment within this region?
• Although my partner and I attempt to keep abreast of the news, we are not aware of any successful models locally.
• Perhaps this Board could help all of Hamilton (and Ontario) by ensuring that the success stories (mentioned by the Councillor) … and the limited detrimental effects on the communities…be made known, so that all of Hamilton’s neighbourhoods would feel better about welcoming CTS sites into their communities.
Many years ago i had a business on Barton street and it was maddening how bad city hall had frigged up the street over the years. When our female customers started telling us they were scared to come in after dark because of the hookers, drug dealers and drug addicts, we packed it in. We had so many break ins our insurance company wouldnt cover windows after the 5th occurrence. We had someone jimmy a door then bust thru an inside wall just to get into an office trying to find cash and cigarettes. Across the street an old restaurant had become a drug and hooker hangout and when i asked the late officer Cathy Weber why the police wouldnt close it down, her reply was , “if we need to find them, we know where they are….” She suggested i attend the neighbourhood watch meetings in the area to share my concerns with other business owners. I walked in and back out of my first and only meeting when i realized the president, was the father, of 3 of the worst kids in the neighbourhood breaking in cars and trying to start fires. Yes i witnessed it, reported it, nothing was done, i saw why that evening. Fifteen years later i feel for the people trying to open businesses and maintain a business in that area, while city hall continues to make it a challenge. I still drive thru the Barton and Lottridge intersection everyday on my way home from work. Almost always see a hooker, someone on a crack high or the police on scene. The duplex next door to me had 2 students from Vietnam studying at MAC last year. I once saw them getting groceries down at Main and Tisdale and i said,, “you know there is a Freshco just blocks away on Barton street” They said they were told by a prof at MAC to never ever go on Barton street, it’s too dangerous….
I don’t know how those who advocate for methodologies so problematic for businesses and property owners think it’s all getting paid for. Property tax payers shouldn’t have to, yet voicing concerns, over personal or public safety, or costs, are laughed at by people like Nann. People who say, “oh I don’t mind raising my taxes” are guaranteed to get their salary from aforementioned taxpayers. Many of whom do not earn nearly as much as the ones paid so well by their taxes. Hearing the word “bold” from these councillors means even more tax increases, more businesses shut, more demand for police (who the bold gang want to immediately abolish, along with closing prisons). Isn’t that a great vision. Anyone who dares have another point of view is shouted down and shamed. The only studies or stats they talk about support their ideology. Who has the time to devote to fighting them? They have paid staff, and just atuck the ol taxpayer to give them all a nice raise. They also have plenty of well paid supporters. Paid by those pesky stupid complaining schmoes, guess who – the taxpayer. Who they care absolutely nothing about. Like really, private sector to Nann etc exists only to bankroll their ideological unicorns. It’s simply mind-boggling.