A resident and business owner living in downtown Owen Sound is starting an action group to try to address what she calls ongoing problems with rundown properties, absentee landlords, drug activity and crime.
Monika Brauer, who operates pet grooming business 'About a Dog', has launched the Neighbours Against Drugs and Crime Action Group (NADCAG). The group is already soliciting signatures on a petition to be sent to City Hall.
The petition asks the City of Owen Sound to assist with ongoing problems in neighbourhoods. Brauer says she initially decided to form NADCAG with hopes of enlisting just a group of neighbours, focused on improving an area north of 10th Street E and east of 2nd Avenue E.
However, since word of NADCAG circulated around social media, Brauer says she's been overwhelmed with messages from people all over the Scenic City.
"The downtown core is definitely the worst of it," Brauer says.
She believes many of the drug and crime issues circulating her neighborhood are tied to absentee landlords that don't have interest in maintaining their properties. Instead, Brauer says many of these landlords are content collecting sponsored payments from tenants in welfare situations.
Brauer feels the neighbourhood she lives in isn't safe.
"I have neighbours who have children and they can't play outside. The parents won't let them play outside because it's too dangerous," she explains. "I've watched people being assaulted on 3rd Ave. E. Another was assaulted right here with a baseball bat, and nothing seems to change."
Brauer says police have been as helpful as they can, and believes it's up to the city to affect change. She thinks the city needs to better enforce by-laws and building codes, and apply pressure on what she terms 'slum landlords.'
Mayor Ian Boddy says council and the city will look at any petition that comes from citizens and will consider it seriously.
"We have a beautiful downtown in Owen Sound that we're very proud. But it seems right now that we have some issues we garbage being left out by certain tenants and sort of a lack of respect for the neighbours," Boddy says. "We'll certainly look at this very seriously."
Brauer adds, anyone interested in getting involved with the Neighbours Against Drugs and Crime Action Group can contact her via email at: [email protected]