Contributed by Anne Dimon. As a homeowner and long-time resident of Cabbagetown South, I join many of you in expressing concern about the declining safety in our beloved neighborhood. The recent shooting in a Toronto community housing building, another at Wellesley and Ontario, the vandalism of Mr. Lee’s Dandy Cleaners on the north side of Dundas just east of Dundas & Sherbourne, smashed car windows and verbal assaults are just a few of the incidences that are becoming far too common on our streets.
But it is not just we residents who have reason to lament the steady decline of the downtown core. The homeless and the other disadvantaged in our neighbourhood are as fearful as we are. Case in point: Last week a homeless man – probably in this mid to late 50s – knocked on our door offering to do a bit of yard work. With the nearby shooting fresh on my mind, I boldly asked him how safe he felt walking around the neighbourhood. He pointed to his nose and showed me were it had been broken when someone – trying to sell him drugs – had punched him in the face while he was simply delivering flyers for a local business. He went on to tell me that just a few days ago when he was walking up Seaton Street, someone driving by, stopped, rolled down the window and shouted – “Hey, are you looking for trouble? Because if you are, I can get out of this car and give it to you.” He admitted that he is afraid. Even to use some of the local shelters. He also told me he just wants to find work on a farm and “get out of here.”
There are people in our community working hard to shed light on the issue of safely and make a difference. I, for one, am grateful for the work being done by Councillor Lucy Troisi. For instance, she recently invited Mayor Tory to walk our streets and see for himself the deterioration of our neighbourhood, and he did. She has called for a moratorium on safe injection sites. There are currently four such sites in a concentrated area of the community and she says that’s enough. Yes, it is. Of course, we need more than just the moratorium but at least it’s a first step, and her ongoing efforts should be applauded.
The message is loud and clear. We want a safer community. Safety for all.