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BEHIND THE SCENES: Flour Mill drop-in centre has neighbours concerned, fearful's Jenny Lamothe takes us behind the scenes

In each “Behind the Scenes” segment, Village Media's Scott Sexsmith sits down with one of our local journalists to talk about the story behind the story.

These interviews are designed to help you better understand how our community-based reporters gather the information that lands in your local news feed. You can find more Behind the Scenes from reporter across Ontario here

Today's spotlight is on's Jenny Lamothe, whose story 'Flour Mill drop-in centre has neighbours concerned, fearful' was published on April 13.

Here is the original story if you need to catch up:

An April 8 Flour Mill Community Action Network meeting over neighbourhood concerns about a drop-in centre for people who are homeless highlights the ongoing challenges of the city’s homelessness and drug addiction crises.

The meeting was an opportunity for residents and business owners near the Sudbury Centre for Transitional Care (SCTC), located at Notre Dame Avenue and King Street, to air their concerns about the centre, its clients and what residents see as the impact it is having on their neighbourhood. 

The SCTC drop-in centre opened in 2021 and recently partnered with the City of Greater Sudbury to extend its hours in the wake of the closure of two harm-reduction services, including the Sudbury Action Centre for Youth and The Spot supervised consumption site, both of which closed in March.

The SCTC contract with the city is valued at $75,125 and runs until April 30.

An invite letter was sent to some residents and businesses in the Flour Mill area about the meeting. Not invited to the meeting was any representative of SCTC itself, said Jehnna Morin, the executive director of the SCTC. She obtained a copy from another business owner who felt she should be aware.

The letter from Flour Mill Community Action Network (CAN) Chair Claude Charbonneau and Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann invites residents and business owners to discuss concerns related to the neighbourhood. Among four items to be discussed, first on the list is “safety concerns expressed by residents and businesses about the Sudbury Transitional Care Centre (sic) at 495 Notre Dame Avenue, as a result of several incidents,” the letter reads. 

The approximately 70 people who attended the April 8 meeting were asked to sign an attendance form and fill out a questionnaire upon entering the room at the Liuna Local 593 building on Clinton Street.

Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann. Tyler Clarke/

Told to leave did attempt to attend the meeting. However, our reporter ran into an issue with both Charbonneau, the chair of the CAN, and Landry-Altmann. 

Neither of those representatives wanted a reporter present and demanded that our reporter vacate the building, which she did. 

Charbonneau not only ripped the questionnaire out of the hand of Morin, once he realized who she was, but also attempted to take a questionnaire form from our reporter. did ask the reason we weren’t welcome, to which Landry-Altmann responded that the media was not invited. “And I’ll tell you why,” she said. But when turned on a recorder to get the statement on the record, she changed her mind. “No, on second thought, speak to me tomorrow. You need to leave.” (Contacted three times, Landry-Altmann has yet to respond to

Landry-Altmann said there would be no questions and comments at the meeting, “ranting or otherwise.” 

Thanks to the members of the public that requested’s presence, and who were angry that media was excluded, we received several videos detailing two hours of the approximately three-hour meeting.

What is the SCTC?

SCTC runs the drop-in centre, as well as transitional housing in the Flour Mill. Morin and her staff act as liaison between tenants and the landlord of 14 apartments at 495 Notre Dame and 18 apartments 519 Notre Dame Ave. helping them with income supplements, social services and teaching tenants how to maintain their housing, often after many years without a home. The apartments at 519 Notre Dame are only for people who are sober. 

In 2023, SCTC received $59,100 from the Ontario Trillium Foundations Resilient Community Fund,  and United Steelworkers Local 6500 covered seven months of SCTC’s building lease. 

Thanks to a partnership with Raising the Roof, there are more units on the way for SCTC clients. 

What happened at the meeting

As stated earlier, those invited to the meeting were asked to fill out a questionnaire. The type of questions asked on the form seem to highlight the discomfort some residents feel about the Sudbury Centre for Transitional Care’s presence in the neighbourhood. 

For instance, the questionnaire asks how long a person has been living in the Flour Mill and whether they were thinking of moving and why. If they are thinking of moving, the questionnaire asks “What are the changes that you would like to see that would convince you otherwise?”

Another question asks for a description of “What has happened to your residence, quality of life in the past year, 6 months, or 2 months,” and “Have you noticed an escalation of concerns and criminality?”

Before opening the floor, on the videos reviewed Landry-Altmann warned the audience that they should not record the meeting. 

From the videos provided to, it seems Landry-Altmann was deciding who could speak and couldn’t speak at the meeting. She told the group that five business owners and then five residents would be allowed to speak, chosen in the order they signed up.

Jehna Morin, who operates the Sudbury Centre for Transitional Care that was the subject of the meeting, asked for a chance to address the crowd, Landry-Altmann initially told her she could after the business owners had had their opportunity. 

Claude Charbonneau is the chair of the Flour Mill Community Action Network. Tyler Clarke /

When Morin is given a chance to speak, a voice from the audience can be heard on video yelling at her, “You’re pocketing the money!”, presumably accusing her of misappropriating the government funding the centre has received. Three separate people who attended the meeting said it was Charbonneau, the chair of the Flour Mill CAN, who yelled the accusation at Morin. 

Landy-Altmann then tells her on the video that she’s changed her mind.

“I changed my mind,” the Ward 12 councillor said. “Yes, I can do that. We’re going to hear from the residents who live in this area.”

Concerns raised by residents who spoke ranged from excessive garbage and needles in the area to people sleeping outside and using drugs openly. Business owners said customers expressed fear of the area, and several people referred to an increase in crime and a feeling of insecurity. Many senior residents also said they were fearful of those who are homeless or who are using substances in their neighbourhood.

Others who spoke were more aggressive in their comments. One person suggested the SCTC should be burned down while another said it should be moved to the bush. Another speaker said the people seeking services at the centre don’t deserve care at all.

While residents and business owners spoke about rising incidents of criminality, one of two Greater Sudbury Police officers who were in attendance sympathized with the concerns being raised, but said the data doesn’t show an increase in crimes in the area since SCTC opened.

“Our stats are not showing what everyone is talking about,” Const. Rod Chisholm told the group.

Chisholm said if people were to notify police about their concerns, the police service could come in and move people along.

“If we don’t know we can’t get there, because again, our stats do not reflect everybody’s story tonight,” said the officer. “We may not put in a report, we may just be doing an area check, moving people along if there is no criminal activity, but we need to know.”

Morin was eventually given an opportunity to speak, she told contacted Charbonneau to try to understand the rationale for the meeting and gather more information on the situation in the Flour Mill that has some residents so concerned. After briefly expressing concerns for schools, senior citizens and businesses in the area, and that some residents are fearful of what they perceive as the changing character of the neighbourhood, Charbonneau abruptly changed course and declined to speak on the record. 

Rules for CAN meetings

Greater Sudbury has 20 distinct Community Action Networks (CANs), one for each of the 12 wards plus eight others that are subsets of the wards (the South End has a CAN for instance even though it isn’t a ward itself).

“The City of Greater Sudbury (CGS) established Community Action Networks (CANs) to provide a line of communication between the community and the City, and to help with the planning and implementation of community initiatives. CANs bring citizens together to build strong, engaged communities, foster civic engagement and encourage public participation in local and municipal projects,” states the CAN terms of engagement on the city’s website.

It was’s understanding that CAN meetings are open to the public, so being asked to leave the meeting was surprising. We reached out to the city for clarification, and the communications department confirmed in a written response that "CANs are open and inclusive to all."

Even the executive meetings of each individual CAN are open to the public, as stipulated in the city's CAN operational guidelines, which state, "All Executive meetings are open to CAN members and the public." As well, the city's terms of engagement for CANs state that they are supposed to be "open and transparent to the public."

In a video recording provided by someone at the meeting and taken shortly after’s reporter left the room, Landry-Altmann can be heard referring to our presence at the meeting in a derogatory fashion.

“We don’t need the slant of some media person who wasn’t invited,” Landry-Altmann said.

Jenny Lamothe covers vulnerable and marginalized communities for 


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Jenny Lamothe

About the Author: Jenny Lamothe

Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with She covers the diverse communities of Sudbury, especially the vulnerable or marginalized.
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