Cold and Lonely Streets can be a Dangerous Place

Sidewalk along Donald Street East in Thunder Bay at 6:00PM on December 14 2015 hours after snowfall stopped
Sidewalk along Donald Street East in Thunder Bay at 6:00PM on December 14 2015 hours after snowfall stopped
Shelter House is often overwhelmed and over capacity
Shelter House has continued the SOS Program since it started as a pilot program. 

By Amanda Perreault

THUNDER BAY – OPINION – The streets of Thunder Bay can be a cold and dangerous place, especially late at night.

I was out driving after midnight last night until about after 3:00 am in the downtown Fort William area.

It is heartbreaking seeing so many young people out there in the cold walking our often scary and lonely streets.

Here are some observations:

It appears that SOS needs to be on duty from 10:00 pm to 3:00 am the hours where the most issues are possible.’

At the Rotary Shelter House, there were a large number of people standing in front of the door. It seems the rules won’t allow them to stand inside to stay warmer.

From what many told me, it appears the staff at the Shelter House could be better trained to defuse angry people, and not to just simply lock everybody out. It was very sad and deeply disheartening to see people standing there shaking from the cold weather outside underdressed.

I Pray our Thunder Bay gets a warm safe place to go, at all hours, to be open during the freezing times, without being kicked out. Perhaps the City of Thunder Bay could follow in the lead of the City of Winnipeg with the Westend 24 project. Perhaps we could put in place protocols for cold weather conditions like the City of Toronto has implemented.

Last night got me thinking after speaking with uniformed Thunder Bay Police Service officers who pulled me over probably to find out who I was, and why I was out there.

I told them I was monitoring the streets. Talking to those respectful officers, who clearly understood my concerns by asking me if they could help me, to just ask them. I felt a bit safer knowing they were there after seeing the many vehicles with tinted windows driving at night, I had nothing but good motives.

We have work to do and need everybody working together in Thunder Bay to make our city a safer and more inclusive place.

Amanda Perreault

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