Concerns Raised Over Downtown Mission's Expansion On Ouellette Ave.


The building manager of an Ouellette Ave. apartment building is worried that drugs and homelessness will get worse in the area now that the city is selling the Central Library to the Downtown Mission.

Shannon Laprise says Tuesday morning alone, there were 15 dirty needles found around the building.

"It is an epidemic," she says.  "It is all drugs every time you turn around there is drugs, there are needles from my building to two doors down, just at 9:30 this morning, we counted 15 needles."

She was shocked and worried by Friday's announcement that the city is selling the library to the mission to serve the homeless and create some affordable housing on the second floor.

She wants the city to increase security measures.

"As far as we are concerned, we want to know what the city is going to do to take more measures to making sure that with the epidemic that is going on down here, how are we going to control it when we can't control it now."

In addition, she points there are safety and loitering concerns if the mission expands in that area.

The Downtown Mission currently occupies a building across the street from the main library branch that houses a shelter and wellness centre.  Laprise admits she can't pinpoint every single drug problem to the homeless at the mission, but she has witnessed problems caused by people who stay there.

"It is a great thing what they do at the mission by helping everybody, but sometimes we feel they [the homeless] abuse that," she says.  "A lot of people just flutter around there and congregate for negative reasons instead of positive reasons. It is a place to meet for corrupt issues instead of getting the help that the city is willing to give."

Laprise says the city is investing in rejuvenating Ouellette Ave, north of Elliott to help businesses and she believes this is a step backward.

She says there are 128 units at 810 Ouellette comprising of families and children.