Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Dismantling Element planned for a homeless encampment in Toronto

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City employees are still working with a wheel loader and a dump truck around 11 p.m.


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In Toronto, an illegal encampment made up of tents and makeshift shelters located near St. Stephen In-The-Fields Church in the Kensington Market neighborhood was finally dismantled late Friday evening, in the presence of about fifteen demonstrators.

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By 10:25 p.m., the first half of the encampment had been dismantled.

By 10:30 p.m., the first half of the encampment had been completely cleared. Around twenty municipal employees, armed with shovels and brooms, were still busy filling a wheel loader. He transported the debris and makeshift shelters to a nearby dump truck.

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Around fifteen demonstrators were still on site during the eviction work.

Belleville Street remained closed between Oxford Street and College Street for long hours in the evening on Friday.

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About seven uniformed police officers supervised the activities.

Approximately seven police officers supervised the activities while around fifteen demonstrators held signs.

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A woman was still lying among the debris.

At 11 p.m., a woman still refused to leave the encampment.

The encampment west of downtown had existed for about two years .

Municipal spokesperson Russell Baker said by email earlier in the day that the encampment posed an immediate and ongoing risk to public safety.

He There have been three fires in the last ten months, he said.

We must respond to the accumulation of fuels and materials on site, which pose a substantial risk to the occupants and surrounding buildings, including the church.

A quote from Russell Baker, spokesperson for the City of Toronto

Mr. Baker explained that dismantling is a measure of last resort. Violation notices were issued to the occupants earlier this fall.

The homeless encampment was located on municipal land.< /p>

Toronto currently has a total of 354 illegal encampments, according to the City:

According to the City, any tent or structure that encroaches on a municipal park or on a passage for the purpose of inhabiting or occupying a space is considered an encampment.

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The state of play at the start of Friday afternoon. The City of Toronto says the accumulation of materials and fuels poses “a substantial risk” to the occupants of the encampment and surrounding buildings.

Un a certain group in the community, a private school a few doors down, campaigned hostilely against us to have the encampment removed, the pastor of St. Stephen In-The-Fields Anglican Church said in an interview early Friday afternoon.

About ten municipal employees were on site Friday morning to convince the last residents of the encampment to leave.

What I understand is that x27;is that heavy machinery will eventually be used to empty the encampment, added Maggie Helwig. I'm not sure if this is still the case, but the City intended to fence the premises following the dismantling.

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According to Pastor Maggie Helwig, homeless people had been living in tents outside St. Stephen In-The-Fields Church for two years.

Jamie Lee Pauk is one of those who lived, until Friday, in this encampment in the Kensington Market district.

[City employees] do this several times. They come and clean everything, explains the homeless woman.

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Jamie Lee Pauk, a person experiencing homelessness in Toronto, says she is frustrated with the approach the City of Toronto took with the dismantling of the encampment where she had been living since July.

This is really inappropriate and immoral.

A quote from Jamie Lee Pauk, homeless man from 103 avenue Bellevue

It's exhausting, she says. This is the third time that City employees have intervened.

It's a waste of resources, time and energy, thinks Jamie Lee Pauk.

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The encampment is located at the intersection of College Street and Bellevue Avenue in Toronto.

A shelter bed was offered to all the occupants of the encampment, assured Mr. Baker in his email. He added that the City wants to enroll them in its Streets to Homes program aimed at finding apartments for the homeless.

The municipal ombudsman was very critical of the City last March in a report on the dismantling of homeless encampments in the x27;summer 2021.

In the past, Maggie Helwig has expressed concern about the fate awaiting the encampment's residents. She noted that shelters in Toronto refuse entry to dozens of homeless people every night due to a lack of beds.

With information from Étienne Lajoie, Myriam Eddahia, Michel Bolduc and Cédric Lizotte

By admin

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