A situation that begins more than seriously to annoy. “We’re fed up with all these homeless people and drug addicts who disgust our shopping streets… and who booze on the sidewalks! We’re not good at cleaning their m… every morning”.
William Grulois, the manager of Midi Lunch, recognizes this, his words are quite harsh. But they testify to a total fed up. “I’m not the only one to think so in the street, but it’s no longer tenable,” he explains to us.
“Every evening, before leaving my establishment, I clean my storefront. In the morning, when I arrive earlier to prepare for my day, I have to spend time cleaning the cans, the piss when it’s not vomit, crushed fries… It’s hell”. For the manager, the strong presence of night shops in the street does not help. “They buy their can of beer at a low price there and position themselves in front. After a few hours, we find them in impossible states. A shopkeeper once got slapped because he asked them to go a little further! Me, they don’t scare me but it could degenerate one day… “.
The City of Tournai is well aware of this problem. Moreover, the mayor of Tournai, Paul-Olivier Delannois, does not hide it, a real problem arises within this street.
“The problem is actually much more sensitive to the rue de Pont than elsewhere,” he confirms. “Some people, homeless people or others with drug problems, stick around.” Not to mention the gatherings that are multiplying there…
A situation that is of great concern to the mayor. “Especially since I learned, at some point, that some women were afraid to go to Pink October, whose premises are located in the rue de Pont. That, I can’t stand! I cannot conceive that this public would make the law in Tournai”.
What to do ?
The problem is therefore known. But what to do about this situation? “I can take perimeter bans as I recently did for people who exaggerated, but my field of action is quite limited,” laments Paul-Olivier Delannois. “A few years ago, I did issue an order that could have allowed the police to act more effectively, but it could not be applied because of several associations. I am still waiting for them to provide me with the solution to this problem! “.
Increasing the police presence would not fundamentally change things. “Rue de Pont is already under surveillance, but, in any case, I could even put a policeman on every street corner, otherwise the problem would not be solved since we do not have the legislative possibilities to go further”.
William Grulois has his little idea. “These people are not solvent? So why not impose community service on them? They dirty the streets, we make them clean! It’s too easy to say that we can’t do anything against them! “.
The mayor invites traders to always bring up the problems they encounter. “When I hear about people leaving their filth behind, I think of cans, for example. You might wonder where they come from and that makes me say that some stores don’t play the game. If I manage to get proof that all the cans come from one and only one store, I certainly won’t mind. to pay him a little visit”.
In the meantime, Paul-Olivier Delannois does not want to generalize about the issue of homelessness. “The homeless who pose problems, it is a minority but which poses a problem for a very large majority. For drug-related problems, we continue to hit hard, it disrupts the market which makes some leave Tournai and it is a very good thing ”.