Downtown Concerned Citizens Organization

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Like every other shelter, city officials said Friday they will have a security team inside and two community safety teams for 24/7 patrols of “hotspots” in the area.

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They added that clients themselves will help with community clean-ups and picking up drug paraphernalia.

But as has been seen before, the shelter operators just pay lip service to security issues and seem not to be concerned with shelter clients preying on vulnerable seniors.

Joyce Barnes, who relies on a walker and lives in the Performing Arts Lodge down the street from the Novotel, says many of her friends are afraid to go out after 5 p.m. now.

The 76-year-old adds that they can’t take a walk during the day without being harassed for money — on Church St., on Front St. and around the St. Lawrence Market.

“They (city officials) are making decisions without telling us and destroying our great neighbourhood,” she said.

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Julio DiGirolamo, who lives at Front and Church, said there have been people in the Esplanade community “crying to be heard” and instead, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

“We don’t expect to be disrespected and ignored,” he said, insisting the choices being made are leading to the “destruction” of once great communities.

“The St. Lawrence neighbourhood, and much of downtown, used to be a vibrant people-friendly community, but now is one where cafes and stores are closing,” he said. “Our daily walks frequently find people defecating, urinating and shooting up.”

“Our parks and sidewalks are littered with needles,” DiGirolamo added.  “Women and the elderly are being harassed by the homeless and fear for their safety. Street benches are removed so that the elderly no longer have a place to rest their bodies when out on a walk.”

SLevy@postmedia.com

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