Friday, June 15, 2018
Downtown Toronto turning into a 'shithole': Residents
It’s a theme I’ve been hearing repeatedly as of late — namely that areas of downtown Toronto around the safe injection sites and low barrier shelters are turning into a disgusting, unwelcoming “s***hole.”
I heard residents lament the deterioration of the Collier-Asquith neighbourhood Tuesday night at a fiery meeting about the lawlessness they’ve experienced since the 21 Park Rd. transient shelter opened last November.
I heard it again at Wednesday’s community services committee from residents living in Cabbagetown and around Moss Park.
Carmine Coccimiglo, a lawyer living on Seaton St., said he’s witnessing crimes on a daily basis from the Moss Park illegal safe injection site — harassment, violence and drug use.
He said the park is “rapidly declining” with pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers there now at all hours of the night.
“We have a rapidly deteriorating environment…something needs to happen sooner rather than later,” he said.
John Di Fruscia, who lives on Seaton St. and uses services at Moss Park, says he sees prostitution, drug dealing, injection of drugs and needles everywhere in the laneways in his neighbourhood and in front of Moss Park public school.
As he showed pictures of the illegal drug activity in public laneways, City Councillor Joe Cressy reprimanded him for doing so (Isn’t it nice that our councillors protect those breaking the law and not law-abiding citizens?)
“This is proving more and more that the social services can’t handle what’s happening in the area,” Di Fruscia said.
Sylvia Greeniaus, who lives 80 metres from the Moss Park injection site, said the police can’t address anything in the park and drug dealers and other violent offenders have flocked there because of the lack of enforcement.
As for the clientele, she said once injected they wander around cursing, high as a kite with no supervision — often walking into traffic — forcing the entire neighbourhood “to deal with this.”
“The park is being owned by the (drug) faction now,” she said, sounding desperate and extremely frustrated.
Karen Marren of the Cabbagetown South Residents Association, said the corner of Sherbourne and Dundas Sts. is “totally out of control” and it’s just a matter of time before something really tragic happens.
“The escalating violence and assaults are a regular event,” she said. “Drug dealing and using is everywhere.”
She said garbage is also everywhere, just tossed on the ground and left for residents to pick up.
“The alleys and parks are being used as toilets,” she added, pleading to the councillors for help. “It’s just a free-for-all…why do we have parks if people can’t use them?”
Of course, no questions were asked of these poor residents by Councillors Joe Cressy or Joe Mihevc, who have created this mess with their trendy ideas, their push for more emergency shelter beds for transients and their fixation on feeding addicts their poisons, although safely.
As I’ve observed, Mayor John Tory, eager to win their support, has been only to happy to help, no matter the fallout to law-abiding taxpaying citizens.
I’ve said it before and will repeat it again: Harm reduction doesn’t work — it only enables addicts by feeding their addictions and has given rise to drug dealing and the same crimes seen around Vancouver’s InSite facility.
The only difference here in Toronto is council has put these sites in play without the kind of beefed up police presence that was provided in Vancouver. In fact, the recurring theme I hear from those experiencing the fallout in Toronto is that there is less police presence and those limited officers who are available (or who are called for help) have adopted a hands-off attitude.
On Wednesday, Tory announced some stop-gap measures to help clean up the problems at Yonge-Dundas Square — another area that has turned into a stinking mess because of the safe injection site on Victoria St.
But the measures announced are all just window dressing.
The real problem is that the mayor, councillors, the city’s public health and shelter bureaucrats and the police are afraid to say they’ve created a mess — and that mess is quickly escalating out of control.
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