Homeless advocate Jason McComb has walked his way through June and on this last weekend of the month, he will spend time in Sudbury
We caught up with Jason on Friday as he departed Sturgeon Falls — and above the roar of passing big rigs — he recounted his meeting in that community with a small group of elementary school students and their teacher on an outing.
Needless to say it was the type of first-person encounter those impressionable young people will long remember.
And it was an opportunity for him to stress again, his cross-Canada trek is not about fundraising, instead it’s about raising awareness for those who are homeless — society’s lost souls whose numbers now include Canadian veterans.
Jason put it this way.
“I would love to get into Sudbury and people would meet me who would donate so we could go shopping for a food bank and get blankets and the like and have the store contribute by selling it to us at a discount.
“This is about awareness and providing help for the homeless and the less fortunate. If I was going to raise funds it would be for Pastor Beth (at Destination Church in St. Thomas) for affordable housing. I want people to know nobody is helpless, but there are a lot of people out there feeling hopeless.”
After 30 days on the road braving cloudbursts, chilling wind and ravenous insects, Jason has every reason to feel beaten down.
But nothing could be further from the truth and each day brings a heart-warming story.
“A lot of buses pass me on the highway and they all honk and wave. One driver told me he is telling all bus drivers and truckers about me and he is going to honk every time he sees me.
“I can’t believe how good the people are up here.”
And there’s a whole lot of Canada yet to experience.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
Aylmer-based contractor Bill Borremans is the type of guy who cuts right to the chase. It was that way when he called the Times-Journal a week ago to vent his frustration with the city’s parking bylaw enforcement officer.
A contractor renovating storefronts along Talbot St. at Hiawatha St. displays a ticket received Wednesday while parked in front of the job site. It’s his third ticket issued by the city’s parking enforcement officer in less than two weeks. His employer Bill Borremans – an Aylmer-based contractor – has appealed to the city to allow his employees to park in front of the scaffolding for convenience and safety. When that fell on deaf ears, Borremans played it by the rules and installed pylons and caution tape to block one lane of westbound traffic on Talbot St.
He and a St. Thomas contractor are renovating the block of stores on the north side of Talbot St., east of Hiawatha St.
That is when they are not fending off the overly aggressive parking patrol officer who takes great delight in vulturing around their vehicles with ticket book in hand.
Borremans is aware of the parking regulations on that stretch of road and did purchase daily parking permits but that does not alleviate all of the problems when you have workers coming and going during the day.
As we noted above, he has a simple request: “Leave us alone and let us work.”
Borremans continues, “I hear from other contractors who come in and try to help make the city look a little better that all they get is harassment all the time they are working here.”
This corner spoke with the Toronto owner of the block who is equally frustrated with the attitude emanating from city hall.
More so in light of the fact she chose not to apply for a community improvement grant for the work she is undertaking — which would have amounted to tens of thousands of dollars — and instead go it alone in order to complete the beautification project as quickly as possible.
She was under the assumption the parking situation with her contractors had been resolved.
Little does she know the inner workings a couple of blocks down the road at city hall.
In the meantime, Borremans has place pylons and safety tape out on to Talbot St., in the process blocking one westbound lane.
Not to be a jerk, but to ensure the safety of his employees working on scaffolding.
Yes there are rules and regulations, but when you have downtown business owners and contractors attempting to undertake upgrades along the west end of Talbot St., perhaps a modicum of common sense would be in order.
Especially in light of the mayor’s election promise and continual blather on the importance of renovating that very stretch of cityscape.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, PART 2
Pauline Wimbush is losing patience in her battle with the city to do something — anything — with the derelict house crumbling next door on Kains St.
We wrote about her plight a couple of weeks ago – read it here and little has changed, except the grass is longer and the cottage-style house at 46 Kains is that much more of a ‘disaster.’
Fed up with the inaction at city hall and the not-my-problem attitude of the mayor, Wimbush is springing into action.
She is preparing to appear before council in a deputation in September, she is organizing a petition, and accompanied by a neighbour Wimbush plans to meet with the fire department to voice her concerns and then it’s on to the office of MPP Jeff Yurek.
She was hoping to sell her well-kept house last year, however living next door to a hovel will quickly devalue your property.
“Some people came with a real estate agent, pulled into my driveway, got out of the car and saw the grass next door was three feet high. They got back into the agent’s car and left.
“What more can I do? I just have to hang in there. I’ve had two real estate agents tell me there is no point in putting the house up for sale because it has devalued my house and no one is going to want to buy a house next door to a vacant house.”
No city resident should have to suffer through year after year of this frustration.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“There’s rules and regulations and we’re trying to abide by those but there’s common sense too.”
Mark Deleemans of MD Construction on the aggressive tactics employed by the city’s parking bylaw enforcement officer when dealing with contractors working downtown along Talbot St.
City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow @ianscityscope