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Letter: Move Wolves to Countryside Arena for the season and provide services to homeless at Sudbury Arena

Downtown business owners should also be reimbursed for vandalism damage, says owner of Zaher’s Small Batch
(File photo)

Editor’s note: Deke Zaher, the owner of Zaher’s Small Batch, says he intends to run for mayor of Greater Sudbury in 2022.

There was an emergency meeting held Oct. 19 between local downtown business owners as well as members of the BIA. There were about 25 of us in total. 

Sue Peters from the Cedar's Nest and I had initiated and led this meeting. With the mayor's emergency meeting held the next day, we were counting on having our voices heard through the members of the BIA who have attended ours. 

The first statement I had made at this meeting was: "Just because you don't have a home, it doesn't mean you aren't a loved citizen of Sudbury, Ontario.”

The snow is falling. We have 32 beds available for over 200 homeless (and will be riding with this second coming wave of COVID). People are getting colder, hungrier, more desperate and frustrated. Vandalism, violence and deaths will be on the rise. Everyone is scared, and this is plaguing our city. 

This issue is paramount, and solutions must be brought forth and implemented. Not weeks from now.  Not soon. NOW. 

My solution? Re-home the Sudbury Wolves to an alternate arena (suggesting Countryside Arena) for this 2021 season. Temporary. This may be home to the Sudbury Wolves, but the people of Sudbury need it more right now. 

How would this work?

Create a vacuum effect, and maintain ONE hub. Instead of having police run around downtown (chasing people), we can have a pop-up station in the arena which would be more efficient.

Put a MUCH NEEDED Safety Injection Site IN the arena. Social workers. The Red Cross, SACY, SDHU, and all applicable resources available within immediate reach. Lock the arena down at curfew, keep it contained and enforceable within the parameters of this location. A safer downtown at night will emerge, you will see. 

This location is directly across from the Samaritan Center. Clientele would no longer be walking their food across town to eat it. 

We have the cots. We have the tables and chairs. We have the changerooms. We have the showers. We have wifi, even. 

We can resolve this issue with applying resources that we already have!

Further, Mayor Bigger had made mention that the budget had been approved for more cameras downtown … some many months ago? I FIRMLY believe that ALL businesses who have been vandalized or broken into should be reimbursed for damages from the City of Greater Sudbury, as we should have been protected the entire while! 

While we have not been hearing from our mayor, he simply failed to protect us while this was in his grasp the entire time. This technology was accounted for, available and we were let down. 

Many of us downtown Sudbury business owners were often leaving our homes at random times in the middle of the night to check up on our locations, or hoping we wouldn't receive late-night calls from security companies saying we got broken into.  

In reality, too many of us got those calls, unnecessarily. This isn't right. There should be accountability towards those who have been affected due to this negligence. 

Deke Zaher
Downtown Sudbury business owner