Letters to the Editor:
Re: Downtown Sioux Lookout
I have two serious questions to ask:
Why is the Chamber so silent to the issues of disconcerting public behaviour occurring in our downtown district?
Where is our local Government? They are seemingly doing nothing.
I am a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Sioux Lookout. I always thought the Chamber’s mission is to create an environment in which businesses can prosper. I always thought the main function of a Chamber of Commerce is to promote interest in local business possibilities. I always thought the Chamber acts as a spokesman for the businesses and works with business development.
I am appalled at our downtown core and the incidents that are disrupting our local businesses. I will name a few. I do not need to add anything else to Joe Carbone’s in the paper. It was well written and left nothing to the imagination. Let me add to the list of concerns.
1. Intoxication and loitering at the entrance to Ireland’s Jewellery. Mr. Ireland says there is feces often in between his building and the next.
2. DJ’s – I recently witnessed intoxication inside and outside of store. Owner askes intoxicated people to leave when they are leaning up against wall inside store and when helped out - they walk right back in and OPP had to be called.
3. Drug store – intoxication and wandering in and out and customers have hard time getting in and out of store. When asked if this is the norm, the cashier responds “oh yes they come in to warm up.”
4. Twice I tried to get into Sioux Lottery and once people were blocking entrance and another time there was blood all out on sidewalk. When I asked about this – apparently someone got assaulted outside the lottery centre.
5. Bank of Montreal – many people passed out in bank machine area almost every single night.
6. Credit Union – full of blood and chicken bones.
7. Old Country Florist building doorway – 3-4 people sitting on step passed out or intoxicated.
8. Library – intoxicated loud people and area has alcohol odor – I order books online or phone ahead now and run in and get my books where I used to visit on Saturday and Sunday and sit.
9. This past Friday two older ladies passed out, outside by the 5th Avenue, all the while the teachers and kids carried their signs up and down Front Street.
10. This past month my store was vandalized by five people outside at 1:30 a.m. – video on my Facebook.
11. Ambulance and police are called and they work all day long on Front Street picking up intoxicated people. Is this what our police are for, picking up intoxicated people?
12. During summer in Centennial Park we have groups of intoxicated people with open bottles of Kelly’s, passed out, and either having sex, fighting or sleeping it off. Sometimes flower boxes are used for garbage, as bathrooms, or just for sitting in and squashing the flowers.
Has the Chamber of Commerce or the town given any thought as to what it is like to go to work in the morning for the bank or the lottery centre owners, or for the people renting space in the Centennial Centre or the train station, and looking out at the park in the summer? The past store owners and people that used to live here are constantly asking “What happened to the town”. Noble Bowes a former resident of Sioux Lookout passed away recently, and he was very sad and broken hearted with the images he came back home to over the last few summers, along with many other home town visitors. Are we just going to sit back and let it go the way it is?
KDSB, the Mayor, and all involved with the soup kitchen are responsible for all the added costs with ambulance, and police these past few months. These costs are added to our taxes because someone did not think this through and perhaps should have put this warm up shelter either in the Out of The Cold or the Friendship Centre. Why was it put on Front Street? But the real question is why do we have all these additional street people sleeping in banks and fighting and drinking on our streets? How did they get here in the first place? What is the north doing about this problem and what are you doing to save our businesses?
Where is the Mayor and his Council? They are our local government? The Mayor is on the Bear Clan Patrol and now our new Chair of Northwest Health Unit. Has council lost their ability to speak about the growing concerns that have been spoken about in the letter to the editor by Mr. Carbone in the Feb. 12th issue of the Bulletin? Where is the dialogue? We can’t solve any problems or concerns if there is no honest dialogue. It is all our community.
Why are you, the Chamber and the town, afraid of repercussions and the first thing to be sacrificed is the TRUTH! The Mayor is forgetting he represents the entire town, not one interest group over another. These are the questions the Chamber should be asking on our behalf. Instead you are silent – as silent as the Mayor and Council.
Do you ever think there is too much alcohol on our streets? Do you think you should be promoting Front Street in a different way – like bring life back downtown. You put the market over by the Tourist Info Centre and it should be downtown. The town should be developing Centennial Park for these markets; instead – it’s an open bar. We need to change this now! The Chamber of Commerce needs to pressure the town, in my opinion.
I would like to thank you for your time and letting me explain myself. I worked hard for this community. I was on the 75th, and the 100th Anniversary Committee. I always promote the community and say we have clean lakes, and it’s a great place to raise kids, however I have to add, stay away from Front Street. Until the Mayor, Council, and the Chamber fixes the problem now – not two months from now – people will be moving and some have already moved at a rapid pace.
PS…. It is my opinion that the sign above the subway should be removed. Welcome to Downtown is not very welcoming and for visitors it must be a real shock! When I look at that sign, I hang my head in shame.
Owner, Roy Lane