On September 1st, Kingston Police moved to evict the remaining residents from the Belle Park encampment. The move is in an effort to restore Belle Park for public use. City public works staff were seen today helping residents move their belongings. They were given the option of going to the temporary shelter at Artillery Park of finding their own arrangements. The Kingston Police were on standby to enforce the order from the City.
“Today – a month after camping in City parks officially became illegal in Kingston – the City has taken the final steps to remove what remains of an encampment at Belle Park and make it safe and accessible for recreational use by all.” the City said in a news release issued September 1st.
In July’s City Council meeting, a July 31st deadline was set for eviction. The City has been transitioning individuals to its temporary hub in Artillery Park and has sought to create a permanent hub.
“Members of this familiar team, including personnel from the City’s Housing and Social Services and Addiction and Mental Health Services, were in attendance at Belle Park when those who remain at the encampment received their final notices from Bylaw Enforcement Officers.
“They were offered assistance to move their belongings and free transportation to the Integrated Care Hub (ICH) based at the Artillery Park Aquatic Centre, 382 Bagot St., or to another location of their choice. Run by HIV/Aids Regional Services (HARS), the ICH offers storage for personal belongings, a place to rest and one-stop access to a variety of treatment and social support services.” the City wrote.
Reaction was mixed. Mutual Aid Katarokwi, who has been vocal about allowing residents to live there, did not support the move. They also were disappointment that Public Works staff were not wearing masks. “City of Kingston staff removing the belongings of #BellePark residents – Not wearing masks.” They said in a post. Others were happy about the move. “Thank you City of Kingston, about time.”
Kingston Police were seen blocking the perimeter of Belle Park