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Reaction to the Cecil Hotel announcement
Published Monday, October 20, 2008 6:28PM MDT
The announcement of the City's tentative deal to buy the Cecil Hotel has some questioning whether the hotel is the problem, or if it's just the location.
Twenty years ago, Ron Bumbry was a regular patron at the Cecil Hotel and Bar, but these days, he says his visits are much less frequent.
"I still go in there. As long as you mind your business, and you're not aggressive, you'll be fine. It's really not a bad hotel, it's not the hotel that's bad, it's the people."
Some of the people are drug dealers, and over the last number of years, the century old building has become a hot spot for dealing and using.
There have also been frequent beatings and stabbings. The latest one was fatal. Derrick Lee Fourhorns was stabbed to death at the Cecil last weekend.
That's why many people working near the Cecil, like Louise Gallagher from the Calgary Drop-In Centre, are applauding the City's plan to tear it down, hoping that it destroys the local drug trade as well.
"What you're going to do is get displaced, the drug dealing that goes on there and those other illegal activities which contravene what we are trying to accomplish in the neighborhood as well because what we want is to create an environment that's safe for our clients.
Staff at the homeless shelter say vulnerable clients have been increasingly targeted by drug dealers. They hope that will now stop.
Others think drug dealers will simply move to other neighbourhoods in the downtown area.
There are several permanent residents at the hotel. The owner says he's working with the City to make sure all of the residents find new homes.