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Letter to the Editor: Souls Harbour Rescue Mission

A letter to the editor from Vivian Darroch-Lozowski
letter-writing

I was saddened to read the open letter by Carolyn Ross in the Wednesday, April 24th edition of the newspaper. The letter was accompanied by petitions to City Council that included details that are disturbing to me: the relocation of new Souls Harbour Rescue Mission, and the request to exclude other community services and shelters from where those who need them can reach them easily––that is, anywhere near downtown. (Many who use such services do not even have vehicles to drive.)

I was unclear whether Ms Ross was writing on behalf of The Good Neighbours Group to which she refers? In any event, the petitions and the letter carried a strong message of ‘not in my backyard’––not in my city where people would see and, in most cases, walk by those who are troubled, or destitute, or fearing for their own safety. 

Ms Ross’s comment that the petitions and her letter are about “keeping our community safe and saving lives” is, to my mind a fatuous catchphrase. Where is the evidence for this? On the other hand, there is evidence to the contrary––that those who live in shelters and become part of the community around them help each other and, themselves, become “good neighbours”.

She also writes “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” With this I agree. Ought not the Council members then best remember their ethical responsibility to extend dignity and care to all Moose Jaw citizens. Dignity is violated when those who need assistance are ostracized from those of us who are more self-reliant and better-off and who have the power to exclude them from this or that cityscape. I would not want to live in such a segregated city.

Individuals who live on streets, or gather in parks notice hostile attitudes towards them, and suffer from the prejudice against them by too many passers-by. Moose Jaw Council should be proud to support the building of a sorely needed modern shelter where it has been planned to exist. Also, note that Souls Harbour shelter will have offices for assisting and advising those who visit.

QUESTIONS: I am not privy to the machinations of the City, hence these questions. 

1.When the site for Souls Harbour was being decided a few years ago, why did not Ms Ross’s issues, which also concern a group called Good Neighbours, become public then?

2. Because there will be a new Hilton Hotel in the neighbourhood of the proposed Souls Harbour, is there lobbying from those supporting the Hotel development to eliminate the forthcoming Souls Harbour, so its inhabitants will be out of sight of hotel guests?  

3. A couple of years ago Moose Jaw citizens carried on an astonishing campaign to save the Wakamow from development. Are their enough compassionate citizens to campaign again to save Souls Harbour from being re-located. (Alas, I am not able to initiate such a campaign myself––I am 83 years old, am slightly disabled, have declined social media, and do not have the knowledge to run a campaign of this sort.)

Incidentally, I often loiter in parks in all seasons to appreciate their beauty. Usually, I am dressed in old clothes. Once, I fell asleep on a bench! I wonder how a Police officer would implement Ms Ross’s proposed recommendations, when she or he would nudge me to wake up.

Thank you for your attention.

Vivian Darroch-Lozowski

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 

 

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