Citizens are now starting to feel safe in Sikotimi town. Homelessness issues are on the rise and violent and aggressive behavior is a concern. Traders on rue Racine are obliged to take exceptional measures to protect their customers.
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A man on the street cannot be ignored by police officers who call him. The city of Sigoutimi has a high number of homeless people. More and more citizens are calling the police of Chagune for such problems.
“The more people are experiencing homelessness, so the more calls, the more citizens who are looking into this problem,” agrees Saguenay Police Department spokesman Luc Tardif.
“At some point, somebody has to open their eyes,” laments a citizen arrested on the street.
Problems persist because the owners of 255 rue Racine chose to lock the doors of the building, which previously housed offices and businesses. Doors are locked from 3pm on weekdays and at all times on weekends. Tenants of buildings containing shops or offices must escort their customers to the door of the building.
“I tell myself that it also adds a certain security, especially on weekends when we’re alone in the building,” says Jocelyn Gauthier, a hairstylist at Salon Vision.
Building managers hired a security guard for five weeks, which many said solved part of the problem. But his contract expired earlier this week.
“If it wasn’t so expensive, we’d definitely keep it because we wanted it. If it wasn’t for the damage they were doing to the building, I’ll tell you, it would bother us a lot less,” explains Valerie Girard, Harvey’s managing director of property management.
They have taken steps to find solutions for it.
“We went to see the lady who looked after the community. They are aware of the problem, but like any community organization, they are limited in their resources,” Ms Girard continues.
Traders in the heart of the city are struggling to find a solution.
“Rue Racine It’s terrible how it turned out, it’s worse than bad! I am afraid to come to work, I will come at 5 in the morning. There are many people who experience extreme anxiety. People don’t want to enter our businesses anymore,” worries Daniel Duperre, who works at Café du Palais.
“In the building, it circulates, it goes into the bathroom, and it causes damage,” says Ms. Gauthier, who works at Salen Vision.
Harvey’s Property Management receives feedback on this every day. Employees of Caisse Desjardins also asked them for access cards to enter the building without going through Racine Street. The counters can be accessed only during the opening hours of the cash counters at designated locations.
“We’re really breaking our heads. We don’t want to drive them away, that’s not the goal. The goal is to help them,” laments the executive director, hoping to find a solution to accommodate everyone.
At this time the District Councilor did not wish to address the situation. He continues to collect information related to this case.
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