Moncton daycare owner concerned about tent camp after finding needles outside

The owner of a daycare centre in Moncton says she’s becoming increasingly frustrated with a tent camp across the street after finding needles near the centre.

“When you find needles on the side of your daycare, it’s pretty troubling,” says Guylaine Landry, the owner of Building Futures Early Child Care Centre. “(It’s) a concern for us and the children, and a lot of activity has been taking place across the street that we necessarily don’t need to see.”

A tent camp has been growing on the other side of Albert Street, she says, noting that it started with one or two tents in April.

Landry says she’s witnessed some sexual activity occurring across the road and then there was an assault.

“Somebody was beating this man with a big stick, so he came out running,” she says. “He was full of blood and we called 911.”

Guylaine Landry, the owner of Building Futures Early Child Care Centre, stands on the walkway of her business with a tent camp across the street that she says has impacted her business

Codiac RCMP Sgt. Tyson Nelson says they’ve had five open files at the site this month, most recently two theft-related calls in the past two days.

Two RCMP members were at the site Friday, but Nelson says that was to do a walkthrough with some of the city’s by-law enforcement officers to make sure people were “keeping the peace.”

He says stolen property had been recovered Thursday, but no charges have been laid.

Nelson says the other calls are “miscellaneous,” but didn’t clarify what they entailed.

Global News requested an on-camera interview with the City of Moncton, but were sent an emailed statement that read in part, “The City recognizes the challenges expressed by the site’s neighbouring businesses, and is working on several steps to alleviate the situation, all the while remaining compassionate to those living in very difficult circumstances.”

It goes on to say, “local support agencies and By-Law Enforcement are regularly checking-in at the Albert Street site to monitor the situation.”

The statement sent by Isabelle LeBlanc, the city’s director of corporate communications, says the agencies have built a “solid rapport with their clientele,” and said more information would be announced in the coming days.

But for Landry, the headache has turned away some business.

“I’ve lost like 10 families because of this, and I don’t blame them,” she says. “I understand, but I mean I’ve been here for five years now and never, never, never had any problems before.”

She says the centre’s backyard is being renovated, so the children always have to go out the front door, which faces the tent camp.

“(It) puts a lot of weight on our shoulders,” she says. “Coming out every day, seeing all kinds of stuff going on across the street, it’s not very pleasant.”

“Our concern is… the safety for the kids,” says Sanaa Bennani, a mother with two young kids who attend the daycare. “It’s a little scary that it’s so, so close to daycare.”

Shannon Camilleri says she willingly stays at the tent camp, works alongside YMCA ReConnect and wants to be a voice for the homeless community.

The tent camp located off Albert Street is being monitored by local agencies and by-law officers, according to a City of Moncton statement

She says there’s a stigma around homeless people, and because they’re across the street, assumptions are being made that the needles were left by someone at the tent camp.

“As far as our daily garbage pickup and everything, the needles are at a minimum because we have sharp boxes at every end of this tent city,” Camilleri says.

For Landry, she knows it’s a “delicate” situation, but wants the city to intervene.

She says she’s hopeful that when the city’s new shelter opens its doors down the road at 75 Albert Street, but knows not all homeless people will sleep in shelters.

Landry says that leaves her concerned that the issue won’t go away anytime soon unless the city takes action.

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