The City of Kingston issued trespass notices to those living at the homeless encampment in the Belle Park area last week and gave residents until March 27 to evacuate.
In a council meeting held Jan. 10, 2023 city council voted to put a hold on evicting people from the campground so that residents had a place to occupy during the winter. But the city has moved forward with the March 27 deadline. Some people remain present at the encampment despite the deadline, but the city says they, as well as Kingston Police, will not be physically removing people from the encampment.
In a sit down interview with Mayor Bryan Paterson, he said, “Our city staff, bylaw team and others work together to make sure we’re taking an empathetic and caring approach to anybody that is… living in an encampment, and ultimately the goal is to offer them better, safer living arrangements.”
The city will be working alongside Kingston Police to clean up the area this week, and emphasizes that police are present to be peace officers.
Mutual Aid Katarokwi-Kingston (MAKK), a local project initiated by AKA Autonomous Social Centre, is calling on residents in Kingston to come together to stop the evictions at the ICH/Belle Park area.
In a news release put out by MAKK on March 17, they list and explain three concerns in reference to the claims that the city made on consulting with the encampment residents, the low barrier options in the region, and the availability of shelter beds.
“The Waterloo ruling made it clear that encampment residents cannot be evicted when there is a lack of adequate indoor shelter options, and that service restrictions such as rules around substance use have the ‘net effect of reducing the number of beds that would otherwise be available in the Region’” the release adds.
MAKK is encouraging members of the community to write to city council and to join their rapid response phone tree. If evictions proceed, they will call on community members to stand in solidarity with the encampment residents and against eviction.
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