Pubdate: Tue, 11 Jul 2017
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Windsor Star
Author: Trevor Wilhelm
Page: A1


Meeting focuses on solutions to problems plaguing the downtown

Billie Werner is getting tired of chasing away prostitutes.

The Vera Place resident was among a couple of dozen downtown denizens
who met Monday with Ward 3 Coun. Rino Bortolin to discuss fighting the
crime, drug abuse and prostitution plaguing their streets.

Werner's main concern was the abandoned buildings near her home and
the trouble they attract, including drug addicts and

"There are a couple girls that I've tried to chase off our block," she
said. "But I'm only one person, so it's very hard to get them to go.
The abandoned houses, with people not keeping their properties clean,
so we're constantly having to call 311 to get them to come out and
clean up the houses and the trash being thrown all over the place."

The residents met at the Downtown Windsor Community Collaborative
(DWCC) on Wyandotte Street West.

Bortolin said he hoped the meeting would be the beginning of a safety
and security subcommittee to deal with crime and other issues
downtown. He said the plan is the to make the meetings monthly,
mimicking the neighbourhood efforts to turn Ford City around.

"People can come and talk about specific issues that might be on the
rise, different ways to combat them," he said. "It might be something
like lights in the alleys - anything like that to empower the
residents to be able to deal with the safety and security issues." He
said the main issues he's heard from residents include petty crime,
break-ins, thefts, drug dealing and prostitution.

Some residents also expressed concern Monday about people doing drugs
outside the Downtown Mission and finding used needles around the facility.

"A lot of that is happening right in these core neighbourhoods," said

"And some of it isn't necessarily the drug dealing that's happening
right in front of them, but the drug addiction and everything that
leads to the petty crimes, the break-ins, the needles that people are
finding in the alleys or backyards. There are a lot of small issues
that add up to a lot big deals."

Werner said the several seemingly small issues piling up to make her
life miserable include drunks hanging out in alleys and people making
noise at all hours.

She said people also access the dark alleys to break into derelict

"There's all kinds of people constantly in there, breaking in, doing
drugs, the prostitutes go in there, making a lot of noise and making a
humongous mess for all the community to have to clean up," she said.

Gale Carter, who attends All Saints Anglican Church, said parishioners
have to step past people sleeping in flower beds and urinating against
the wall.

"We're dealing with the people sleeping within the park and using the
facilities around the church as injection sites, using the hose to
take a shower, using the flower beds to go to the washroom," said
Carter, who also lives in the Westcourt building.

"I'm here because I think we need to have a discussion of finding a
place for them to go and do what they're doing."

She suggested creating a space downtown for safe injection sites,
similar to initiatives in other cities including Vancouver.

"Most of our parishioners are elderly so they become a little
distracted by it all," said Carter. "Nobody wants to see people lying
in the flower beds or urinating up against the building. It's safety
and security.

"We don't want to run them away. We want to find a solution to the
problem. If we all work together we can do that."
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