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:
Indeed I would agree that our town is pretty amazing:
And our sunsets are pretty great…
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…
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.
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…
The trees in these areas have been cut down and many are heavily damaged. Many will no survive as a result.
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.
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.
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….
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…