Saint John — The Mayor of New Brunswick’s second-largest municipality believes she has found the solution to her city’s sad homelessness problem.
Mayor Donna Reardon would like to see persons who are homeless paired with the many ice fishing shacks dotting the local frozen waters. “Winter is the time of year the homeless are most vulnerable and here we have an existing infrastructure complete with a ready supply of fresh food — a double win.”
Reardon said she came upon the idea after a citizen suggested she get out of the uptown and see what else is going on in the city.
“And so, there it was…I was out for a Sunday drive down by the river when I saw these darling little shacks clustered together on the ice. I asked my driver to pull over where I rolled down my window to inquire what sort of thing this was. Apparently, the villagers set these tiny dwellings on the ice to fish from. It immediately came clear to me how this could fix the city’s nuisance homeless problem, which makes it uncomfortable for us elites to enjoy our cozy living rooms while sipping expensive Italian pinot grigio.”
Reardon immediately took action to determine whether it would work. “I had the police pick up a fellow near my doorstep who appeared to be homeless and drive him out to a fishing shack owned by another fellow who agreed to help.”
With promising results of her social experiment, the Mayor stated, “I have instructed police to round up vagrants…or sorry…I mean volunteers, to take out to the fishing village.”
Ice fisher Rod Knelling, who hosted the homeless man, thought that it was an overall success. “Sure, there were a few issues like buddy panhandling in middle of the fishing village, but I says to him, look if you are gonna stay here yah gotta fish or cut bait.”
Tipsy O’Day, the homeless man paired with Knelling, enjoyed the experience and now has a renewed sense of purpose. “I have a tarp over my head and an endless supply of smelt.” However, O’Day said that sponge bathing through the fishing hole in the ice was a bit chilly.
Knelling said Tipsy makes a great fishing buddy. “He plays a mean harmonica and is handy to have around. He doesn’t mind putting the shrimp bait on the hooks or rolling some weed. It doesn’t cost me nothing except a few rum and cokes…well actually a lot of rum and cokes.”
The mayor said she was hoping to drop by the fishing shack but her schedule has been busy with gallery openings.
Reardon added that she hopes to see the program extended during the summer using houseboats. “I would think that these bums would love to be out on the river on a nice summer day rather than hanging out on a street corner bothering tourists for a bit of change for a coffee.”