Downtown business owners in North Bay share concerns ahead of provincial election

Gateway to the Arts has been located on North Bay's Main Street in the city's downtown for just more than two years. Owner Kerrie Emms told CTV News homelessness and addiction issues in the city are her biggest concerns this election campaign.

"Mostly it's the issue of homelessness and opioid crisis," said Emms.

"It's an issue that's everywhere, however we seem to be lacking in what we're doing about the issue."

Other business owners in the city's downtown said they feel the same way.

"We need more affordable housing," said Pauline Brown, owner of Brown's Antiques and Collectables.

"Having affordable housing and more mental health facilities, what that will do is place a lot of people that are here on the streets into places and into homes … So if we did that, we would then clean up the streets of downtown North Bay."

John Lechlitner has owned Cecil's Brewhouse and Kitchen for more than 30 years. He agrees homelessness is an issue he sees outside his restaurant.

"We need proper housing for these people," Lechlitner said.

"We know the old system of just locking them up or putting them in psych hospitals didn't work, but obviously the solution has now become a problem, too."