'The city is like The Walking Dead': North Bay downtown business owners disgusted with city's downtown
NORTH BAY -- North Bay city council's mandate for growth and prosperity is being questioned after two downtown merchants, who say they are "disgusted" with the state of the downtown core, are speaking out.
The two merchants, Jane Kelly and David Barrie, who opened up a cycling studio 'REVolve Cycle,' said they are fed up with the state of the city’s downtown core, saying addicts and the homeless population have completely taken over.
The merchants made a passionate plea to council to fix the problem.
"I'm scared -- the city is like an episode of The Walking Dead," said Kelly, during her presentation to council Tuesday evening.
Kelly moved back to North Bay in June from Ottawa after 34 years. The interactions with addicts and the homeless population have left her and Barrie to reflect on the decision to open up their spin cycle studio on Main Street.
"I've had to contact the police no less than 10 times," said Kelly. "We hosted an outdoor ride where the instructors were accosted by a belligerent homeless man who refused to leave us alone and then began throwing things at us.”
'A man beside him was shooting up'
'The pair claim to have only seen police officers on foot patrol twice since moving in June and have yet to see police on bikes in the downtown, while adding nothing like this ever took place in Ottawa.
"I fail to understand how the city is denying responsibility when this is affecting the tourism industry and the economy," said Kelly. "I saw a man urinating on our studio one bright afternoon. A man beside him was shooting up."
City Coun. Dave Mendicino, who serves on the city's downtown improvement board, highlights the success of the downtown ambassador program where three full-time outreach workers walk the beat and meet with people dealing with addiction and mental health issues. But, he admits the problem can't be fixed overnight.
"We totally understand what they're saying and we see the issues, as well," said Mendicino. "These are issues that are complex and it's going to take some time to turn around and we need a little bit of patience."
The business owners have spoken to many people about the state of the downtown core passing on their message of disgust and disappointment at the lack of action to clean it up.