Pubdate: Fri, 02 Sep 2005
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 Annex Publishing & Printing Inc.
Author: Daniel Pearce



Downtown Simcoe is plagued with drug users and dilapidated buildings and
it's time the county addressed the problem, say merchants in the core.

"We're fed up," said Clive Eynon of British Baked Goods, a bakery on
Robinson Street. "I've spent $35,000 on upgrades to my building and I have
to put up with drug use on the streets and buildings in bad shape."

Business people in the core interviewed by the Reformer said they are
getting increasingly uneasy as downtown continues on a downward spiral.

Kids roam the streets openly using and dealing drugs, vandalism is out of
control, and landlords are allowed to let their buildings get run down and
rent apartments to drug dealers, they say.

"Bylaw enforcement is non-existent," Enyon charged. He estimated there are
about half a dozen storefronts that are now being used illegally as

Eynon will address council on Sept. 6 to make them aware of the problems and
ask for action.

Drug activity downtown is "huge," said Les Wiese, owner of Corner Glass and
Custom Frame on Robinson Street. "Anyone who says it isn't, they're just
walking around with blinders on."

A woman who works and lives downtown called the Reformer to report she
recently found numerous hypodermic needles on the sidewalk and curb along
Colborne Street between Robinson and Peel.

"I'm in shock knowing we're in a small town and we can compare ourselves to
downtown Toronto," said the woman, who asked not to be identified for fear
of retaliation.

She said she gathered up the needles, took them to Norfolk General Hospital
to be disposed, and then called police.

A plain clothes drug officer with the Norfolk OPP told the Reformer the
needles were probably used to inject a prescription drug called OxyContin.

It's a painkiller used in terminal cancer patients that is "probably the
most abused prescription drug" on the street, said the officer, who
requested anonymity.

It makes its way onto the streets through people who fool doctors into
thinking they have back pain and by "double doctoring," he said. "They call
it hillbilly heroin," the detective said.

Drug use in the county "is not increasing over previous years," said Norfolk
OPP Sgt. Zvonko Horvat who suggested owners of downtown buildings and
businesses "have to take some responsibility for what's going on."

Wiese said he moved his store Aug. 1 from the corner of Colborne and
Robinson streets to the corner of Robinson and Kent because of physical
problems with the building he was renting and the tenants who lived

"The tenants threw garbage at people as they went by. They spit on people
and dropped beer bottles."

A flood from the apartment upstairs a week before he moved - which he blames
on the landlord - destroyed paintings and musical instruments he sells.

Ron and Sharon Smith who run a video store and hobby shop on Colborne
between Peel and Robinson said they have had to close their store early on
Friday nights because of large groups of kids fighting on the street out

"It's awful around here," said Sharon. "Kids hang around the street
something terrible." 
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