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High hopes for Gore Street (9 photos)

Monday, May 12, 2014   by: Kenneth Armstrong

Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Chief Bob Davies has a bold prediction for Gore Street, which includes new businesses opening up and the area losing it’s bad reputation for crime and addiction.

He kicked off Police Week with the opening of the new Community Resource Centre on Gore Street Monday morning.

“Our traditional role of policing was reactive, to attend and either arrest or keep the peace and move on to the next call. This is a lot different, what we are asking our officers to do,” said Davies.

The centre will act as a hub for various community agencies to provide services for people in the area, which include Ontario Works, Chidren’s Aid Society and Canadian Mental Health Association, said Davies.

The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service will contribute by having an officer assigned full-time to patrol the area.

A survey conducted by the NORDIK Institute at Algoma University using Sault Ste. Marie Police Service data discovered that approximately 75 percent of the 911 calls to the Gore Street area were not to report robberies or assaults, but prostitution, mental health issues and addiction, said Davies.

Davies said police resources were being used when social agencies may be a more appropriate response, which required a shift in thinking to react to the problems in the area.

Davies hopes to keep the same officers working the area and they will get to know the people and recognize the issues that come up regularly.

Joanne Denis, who owns Doggy Styles pet grooming directly next door to the Community Resource Centre is happy to see a permanent police presence on the street.

Denis, who also lives in the area, said she has high hopes that the area gets cleaned up.

“I’ve had my windows broken. My windows are caged in now,“ said Denis, who attended the opening with her blue-haired Imperial Shih Tzu named Sable.

Many residents and business owners wanted to see a storefront police station with officers patrolling up and down Gore Street, said city councillor Pat Mick, but she notes that this is a different approach.

“It’s really good to see participation from all of the agencies that are helping us out, and people from the neighbourhood,” said Mick.

Chief Davies agrees that participation from the local residents and business owners was an important aspect of the project.

“We knocked on doors, introduced ourselves and told them what we were going to do,” said Davies.

More importantly, Davies said, the police listened to the locals and plan to meet with them in the future on a regular basis to discuss the progress of the project.

He said he hopes the result will be a sense of safety and security for the residents and business owners and an overall reduction in calls to the police, freeing up valuable resources.

(PHOTO: Community engagement researcher Calna McGoldrick shares a laugh with Sault Ste. Marie Police Service chief Bob Davies during the opening of the Community Research Centre on Gore Street May 12, 2014. Armstrong)

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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
engineguy 5/12/2014 5:15:52 PM Report

All those people, who the hell cares we live in Sault ste Marie. Plus read story on sault star on computer this a.m. to slow sootoday.
superior87 5/12/2014 6:01:23 PM Report

It's a good thing and I hope it is very successful. Hopefully those crime stats make people realize that they're not likely to be the victim of a crime on Gore Street unless they are there looking for prostitution themselves. If the City could work to clean up the area aesthetically as well it would go a long way.
willoweep 5/12/2014 6:09:55 PM Report

While I do applaud any and all efforts to make our City a safer ,more pleasant place to live and visit,I can't help but wonder where will these sort shift to? We know they are not going to go away, just move.
Cormorant 5/12/2014 7:05:51 PM Report

When I was a boy, Gore Street was vibrant. We would go to the Princess Theatre as we knew it, every Saturday morning to see two movies, a cartoon and the news which we dismissed outright as youngsters. A restaurant thrived across the street from it, and many shops flourished. How sad it is to see its demise today.

BUT, that doesn't have to be. As an old guy, I'd like to be able to move into nice retirement housing close to the downtown. It would be wonderful to be able to walk to amenities, two of which are the waterfront and boardwalk from a location along Gore Street and also to the Station Mall.

So if developers and the city could get their acts together and create a tax haven in this district to promote middle class development, we might get to see, over the next 25 years, a model for rejuvenation of this district. After all, isn't the emerging demographic story of the Sault one of an aging population?
ThinkAgain 5/12/2014 7:25:27 PM Report

"The centre will act as a hub for various community agencies to provide services for people in the area, which include Ontario Works, Chidren’s Aid Society and Canadian Mental Health Association, said Davies."
These so-called agencies have been cutting budgets, trimming the fat, reducing staff for awhile now. I treat my own dog better compared to the way they treat people.

How do you think they can deal with or cope with extra pressure pushed on them ????????

Oh I forgot, that is why Davies is the highest paid city official. Hes got all the answer's.
bradwc2002 5/12/2014 7:31:25 PM Report

If they kept people in jail and actually send people to jail for a real time frame then the city wouldn't be so bad. Its the system that makes the city bad because the people not following the law know that there gonna get a slap and be set free to try again.
rider_ 5/12/2014 8:02:43 PM Report

the police do a th arrest, the man who do crimin, heh, keep the street clean... good work chief david
thesharr 5/12/2014 9:43:53 PM Report

Check the hours of this Police Satellite Shop,9am-5pm,criminals don't come out till after dark.
lodgekeepers 5/12/2014 9:57:50 PM Report

hey Cormorant:
you are right on.
I too can remember going to Gore with my aunts and uncles, who lived in Central Park. We would watch the Community Night Parade from the sidewalk there, and I used to go to the Princess to watch movies on Saturdays in the 70s - (Hey I think I am a little bit younger than you are).
Best wishes to all of those planning this revitalization. Duluth, Minn with a population of 80 000 did much the same thing with their old industrial zone down at their waterfront. Now it is a vibrant, wonderful arts/cultural/recreation/museum/shopping/restaurant/hotel area.
mellow 5/12/2014 11:36:07 PM Report

Stepping stones one day at a time. Seems it takes a village for some ownership on this matter. Neglecting this area won't help matters. Any serious consistent effort is worthy. A year from now let's hope to see great change.

Negative attitudes never help.
dadal 5/13/2014 5:56:40 AM Report

I agree, where will the riff raff go?

Well many will still be around as they live in the area.

Those that don't will just shift to a new area.

Here's a solution: Allow a brothel or two to open legally. Put strict regulations in place IE mandatory health tests. Triple the fines for prostitution outside the legal brothels. Next put a substance abuse/mental illness halfway house beside a substance abuse/mental illness help facility. Have policing OUTSIDE the standard 9-5 as most of these crimes happen at night.

Sure you all can flame me as I know the city would NEVER do any of the above. Instead they want to arrest anyone involved in drugs and prostitution. But our past states elimination won't work. Didn't work for Prohibition, nor for banning smoking or for gambling. If someone WANTS to do something, they will.

So why not control it instead of banning and making it go underground? That's the theory for legalizing pot. And in the USA that is working. Plus mucho gov revenue.

Those that are hypocrites that scream to ban the sex trade -and drugs for that matter- and contribute in their private lives are the same ones that need to stop the hidden agenda and help.
kamen 5/13/2014 11:40:46 AM Report

Is that police station still down there? They are only open to 5pm and the crime doesn't happen until 2am when the bars close and the jerks sit in the alley across from Mac's and rob people....until there is more police intervention downtown at night it won't be great....
B Boy 5/13/2014 12:38:41 PM Report

I understand that their intent is still to route all calls through a central dispatch however in my experience it's a police presence that's required to deter crime.

The substations I've seen in other cities are staffed 24/7 and aren't designed for walk-ins but as a hub to increase present in a challenged area and to ensure a quicker response time in challenged and surrounding areas.
grunt 5/13/2014 1:38:12 PM Report

they'll just move to another street
seller65 5/13/2014 5:50:16 PM Report

This is not a police station and there is misinformation that the resource centre is some kind of secondary police detachment. It isn't .. For those of you who who feel free to hate the police so much try calling a crackhead next time.
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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