Sudbury group looking at safety issues downtown says more beds, housing needed for vulnerable residents
Bylaw officers clear out Memorial Park in Greater Sudbury on Oct. 27. (File)
SUDBURY -- A group dubbed the 'Task Team' met last week in Greater Sudbury to discuss what can be done to improve safety issues downtown.
In a news release, Mayor Brian Bigger said Friday's meeting was "very productive."
"We had a great meeting and that's a credit to everyone involved sharing the same priorities about supporting our most vulnerable and our downtown," Bigger said in the release. "The (downtown) BIA, council and our partners have played an essential role in identifying several issues and providing solutions to address them.
"As a group we are learning from each other and our shared expertise will allow us to approach very difficult issues like housing, homelessness, systemic racism, the opioid crisis, as well as mental-health and addictions supports as a unified and determined team."
Bigger said it's clear there are gaps in services and support for the vulnerable population downtown.
"This is an area we are identifying and working to find solutions for, but there is no immediate, easy or simple solution," he said. "We need to find more beds for our vulnerable populations. We need more housing."
The mayor said the group is looking at short-term improvements, but added the ultimate goal is long-term solutions "and a successful outcome for our entire community."
In recent days, city bylaw staff cleared out Memorial Park, where many homeless were living, and health and safety issues prompted the evacuation of the former Ledo Hotel, where some people homeless people were squatting.
Bigger has also talked about adding staff downtown to clean up garbage, adding brighter lights and moving ahead with a plan to add more security at the downtown transit terminal.
The Task Team includes members from the city, BIA, police, the health unit, Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine Health and Science North.