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When the St. Catharines General Hospital closed, business owner Murray Scott hoped for the best. He thought developers might turn the building into upscale condos or apartments, which would change the face of the Queenston Street neighbourhood where he operates his busy wholesale picture frame business. Three years later the hospital sits empty, and the prostitutes still ply their trade on Gale Crescent in front of his office.
I watch prostitutes being picked up in cars, or making their way into the park with johns all the time. Last October, the Niagara Regional Police performed a two-day prostitution sweep that resulted in 14 arrests.
They busted two other people for possession of illegal narcotics. They have done their sweeps and dealt with some of the drug crime. They scatter — but as soon as the police move on, they return. There are no simple solutions. The ultimate goal would be to transform the area.
Catharines a kinder, gentler place by bringing together government, individuals and social agencies to solve problems. Compassionate Cities is about care plus action. We need to have supports in place when we are dealing with these issues.
Catharines regional councillor Andy Petrowski said there have been a lot of hollow words thrown around about Queenston Street over the years. The police have had officers on bike patrols in the area since May.