“Prettiest Town in Canada” Has an UGLY Little Secret…

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Those of you who watch my videos know that most of my projects and initiatives center around making the world “better” in some way or another.  This is what mkme.org is centered around but the solution to this particular issue eludes me…

A quick google search finds this little nugget about our fine town:

Prettiest Town in Canada
Prettiest Town in Canada

Indeed I would agree that our town is pretty amazing:

Goderich Salt Mine At Night by Eric
Goderich Salt Mine At Night

And our sunsets are pretty great…

Goderich Sunset by Eric
Goderich Sunset

It is no secret that there are issues with homelessness across Canada.  Goderich suffers from this as well.  It has seemingly become steadily worse in recent years to the point we now have homeless encampments within town limits.

Yes, the “Prettiest Town in Canada” has this beauty within 200 meters of our  hospital doors…

Goderich Encampments
One of several trash heaps

Yesterday I went out to do some video footage not far from my home in Goderich- what I stumbled across would leave me with a significantly darker view of our little town.

Location

The following are pictures of the multiple encampments and piles of waste littered around them. The areas are completely covered in broken glass and other hazardous materials.

Not something you want your kids playing in…

Goderich Encampments
Encampments
Goderich Encampments
Makeshift stove
Goderich Encampments
Trash
Goderich Encampments
Some of the overhead structures
Goderich Encampments
Broken glass can be found everywhere
Goderich Encampments
More structures
Goderich Encampments
Goderich Encampments

 

Goderich Encampments
Trees damaged & removed all around these sites

The trees in these areas have been cut down and many are heavily damaged. Many will no survive as a result.

Goderich Encampments
More trash heaps
Goderich Encampments
Another heap

The household waste is also accompanied (unsurprisingly) by human excrement/waste around the area. The biohazards here are significant and the smell is unpleasant to say the least.

Goderich Encampments
Another camp
Goderich Encampments
Sleeping areas?
Goderich Encampments
More trash and waste

This is just one area of 3 separate encampments. There are indeed more.

I have no idea what the solution to this issue is. What I can say is that what we are doing- is not sufficient.

Before you point out how terrible I am for posting these images and how I could do X to get involved and solve the problem- I have indeed tried to get involved already with our elected council.

Jan  2021 I reached out via social media to one of the Goderich councilors who was actually one of my  teachers in High School. In recent years he also involved me as an (unpaid) consultant in a town initiative for small businesses. One of the perks of our small town is that generally- we all have many years of living working and playing together.

My message was simple:

Hey Sir. How are things with you? Hope you are doing well and enjoyed the holidays! I have an odd question and wondered if you can point me in a direction. It seems pretty clear that our homeless problem in Goderich is not improving and may be even worsening. Is this on councils radar? Any thoughts on what the community could do to help? I have considered taking a chat with individuals just to understand the problem better. I dont have a lot of means to help but I would like to do what I can. Surely this is something we could solve as a community. Pretty embarrassing touting ourselves as the Prettiest town while having people living on the street. Anyhow I figured you probably have the best optics on this from town, to business to the human side of things. Any thoughts appreciated. Stay safe

As always, I received a prompt response which transitioned in to a lengthy phone conversation on the topic of homelessness in our fine town.  He gave me a detailed update on the various initiatives in the county & town as well as committed to letting me know when I could be of help in any way.

While I applaud the efforts of all involved we clearly still have a major problem not going away and one could argue is worsening.

Last August I took photos like this at the end of Anglesea street  (a short distance from the encampment above)and reported it to the town bylaw enforcement.

Garbage

This was cleaned up and remedied due to the likelihood that the scat beside the pile belonged to a small bear- Not ideal inside town limits…
Scat

Just a month before that I took these photos of the pristine Maitland Woods trail area ravaged by fire due to a repeat homeless encampment….

Maitland Woods Burned
Maitland Woods Burned

You don’t have to look far to find the evidence of these issues in town- anyone living here knows the familiar faces living on the street. What may not be so obvious are the ones living just out of sight in encampments like these in the wooded areas within and around our town.

I still have no idea what to do beyond the typical cleanups and handouts but I think step one would be to make this post. People should see this.  People should get upset. We all should be upset that in a world of such plenty- we allow this to continue right in front of our faces.

I will try to help out where I can on this topic. Our little YouTube community has stepped up when asked in the past (funds for Covid face shield supplies, donations and more) but I’m at a loss on this one.  For now I will make this post in hopes it may inspire some interest and hopefully urge people to reach out to their elected officials.

Anyone touting this as the “Prettiest Town in Canada” should probably take a walk in the woods just once and see what is happening “behind the curtain” and decide just how “pretty” these scenes are.

Out of sight should not be out of mind…

3 Replies to ““Prettiest Town in Canada” Has an UGLY Little Secret…”

  1. I fully believe, short of rounding these folks up and incarcerating them, that the county and the town have done what they can to support and move the population of the homeless into housing and provide supports to them to keep them housed. The real issue is one of mental health. The homeless population that resides on the outskirts of town during the summer months continue to receive support from municipalities however their illnesses ultimately cause undesirable behaviours, which in turn make them undesirable tenants. There is definitely a housing shortage, but the two are nearly unrelated. These folks can’t be forced to conform to our expectations, and as such, this is what it leads to. In the summer they become outliers and n the winter months they are often residents of the shelter.

  2. I have no idea what the solution should be but my thoughts are down at the optimist Park Hill. Build tin shelters to keep them away from the elements. when they knock it down the town works department puts it back up.
    Purchase a port a potty. Have it emptied regularly. It may be an expense but these people deserve dignity too.
    All the food that is wasted in Goderich have it delivered each night with a sign stated “not liable “ Restaurants and stores are throwing it out anyway.
    In the winter try and supply wood from trees the town workers have cut down.
    Also have town employees pick up and clean up the garbage…suggest insentives to the homeless to keep the area clean…like a Tim’s card etc.
    The town should start including this expense into their budgets. This problem is not going away.
    I really don’t have any idea if these things would work or not but we have to start somewhere and the Town oh Goderich needs to take the initiative.

  3. the relative price of market rent in this province= roughly 1200+ on the low side per month, minum wage is untenable for this, if the provence wanted,it could cap monthly rent at 300/month across the board, and regulate the rest of pricing would maby fall back to sompthing sustanable, my mom’s house/lot, in town was maby 50,000 in 85, after what 30 years apraised 300+/ it’s a nice ponzie schieme that has only robed the future generation,of the life’s ower parent’s/leaders have so greatly taken advantage of. pepole over profit, the richest man in the cematary is still dead,and we are in this togeather, 8$ for a jar of penutbutter? small wonder you’re humble servants are hungy……..

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