(OPINION) – I woke up early this morning, did my morning rituals and started my day looking for the next news story to cover.
I decided to drive around the Picton/288 Windsor area to see if there was anything going on worth reporting on. I did not find any pressing issues, but I did find a neighbourhood in distress.
The first thing I came across was a collection of shopping carts near a garbage shed. I get it, people use them to get their groceries home. The grocery stores these belong to will most likely send someone out to retrieve them. Correct me if I am wrong, but I’m pretty sure some grocery stores will deliver if the order is over a certain amount. Maybe some entrepreneurs could start a grocery delivery service that’s affordable for low-income people.
After a glance at this mess, I began to lurk down Picton. The free floating garbage and unkept lawns left me wondering why this area is neglected so severely. This area is well known for violence, domestic assault, active drug dealers and overdoses.
As I was touring the area, I saw two well-known drug dealers. The men were riding together on the same e-bike. They looked strung out and alarmingly skinny. I suppose the men would benefit from a safe injection site being built, as they would be able to park outside and conduct business on the spot, reducing travel costs and enjoy a steady stream of customers. I should add that these two men did not seem like the financially successful type of drug dealers, they are more than likely peddling their product to feed their own addiction, judging by the torn, dirty clothes they had on and the overall state of their appearance. The two refused an interview.
Is there nothing that can be done to rejuvenate this area? There is a park with a playground at the one end of Picton, but I would never take my kids there in fear a used needle could be lying around.
As my patrol of the area neared conclusion, I came across a site that sparked confusion. I gazed my eyes upon this lawn, just as the sun began to dawn. The scene was a view I will remember, they are definitely a front yard offender.
My first thought is “what happened to this lawn that caused it to become a gravel pit”. How does this happen? Is this caused by a bug infestation? Could it be some issue with the soil? A chemical spill? The mystery grows deeper due to a lawnmower on the property.
My final thoughts, as I end this article, is that this neighbourhood is mostly Thunder Bay Housing properties. I have been told that housing used to be run by the City of Thunder Bay, and that back then, Picton was supposed to be a highly sought after area. My source tells me that when housing was run by our municipal government, that the bar was high in relation to who they approved as a tenant. But that all changed when the provincial government took over and lowered the requirements for housing. The end result is what you see now. Picton/288 Windsor is not the only housing majority neighbourhood that is plagued by poverty, drug abuse, violent crime, and overdoses. The Academy area and Limbrick area are also doing poorly as well.
I don’t believe the solution is to raise the bar for approving tenants, but I do believe we need to figure out how to deal with these issues, which in my belief, stem from severe drug addictions. Children are growing up in these conditions. The law needs to change in regards to drug addiction. Decriminalize drug possession, harsher penalties for trafficking, build a large rehab centre in town, pass a law that allows people to be sentenced to treatment for overdosing, and perhaps housing/child services could start sending tenants to rehab when their home inspection shows signs of drug use.
What are your thoughts on improving the situation in the areas of town that are in massive distress?