On the heels of announcing “over 60 new drop-in and shelter beds in various locations across Kingston,” (see below) the City of Kingston has also issued a Notice of Trespass at Belle Park and the K&P Trail, an area that has housed an encampment of unsheltered individuals for over a year.
“The City of Kingston has issued a Notice of Trespass to those staying at Belle Park and the surrounding K&P Trail, based on the Council-directed Encampment Protocol and increased availability of shelter space endorsed in June 2022,” the City of Kingston said in a press release, less than 24 hours after announcing the opening of new drop-in and shelter bed locations that have opened or are opening throughout January.
Camping and the use of camping equipment are prohibited in all public parks by the City’s Bylaw Number 2009-76, “A Bylaw to Provide for the Regulation of Parks and Recreational Facilities,” the City said in a press release on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, just after 11 a.m.
“Since the adoption of the encampment protocol, the process to relocate unhoused individuals staying in public parks has been ongoing.”
Referencing the below information on new shelter and warming centre spaces, the City said that City staff will “continue to work with those staying in the encampments to access services prior to the transition deadline of Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023 at 5 p.m.”
“After this time, sleeping or camping (including the installation, construction or maintenance of any type of structure intended for human habitation, such as tents or shelters) at Belle Park, the K&P Trail, or at any other City-owned park, will not be permitted.”
The City said that those experiencing homelessness or those who are concerned about a person in need of shelter should please call 613-542-6672 ext. 130 “and the Street Outreach Team will be alerted.”
“Our goal is to ensure the safe relocation of those staying in the encampment. We’re grateful for the ongoing work of our community partners to assist individuals in accessing services that will aid their transition,” said Curtis Smith, Director of Licensing and Enforcement Services for the City of Kingston, in a statement.
The City of Kingston has been addressing encampments in Belle Park and the surrounding area since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and notably evicted all of those living in the encampment there in September of 2020. The City said it had erroneously issued a Notice of Trespass at the park the July prior to those events.
The day prior to announcing this most recent Notice of Trespass, on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, the City of Kingston announced “over 60 new drop-in and shelter beds in various locations across Kingston.”
The “shelter beds and supports for unhoused people” are part of three separate projects:
- The new “Adelaide Drop-In warming centre,” located within the former Frontenac Public School building (38 Cowdy Street), operated by Lionhearts Inc., which can accommodate up to 40 people (already open)
- The new “Veronica’s Veil” overnight warming centre to be opened at St. Mary’s Parish Centre (260 Brock Street), operated by St. Mary’s Church, which will accommodate up to 12 people per night, men only (to open Monday, Jan. 9, 2023)
- The second location of Dawn House at the former Fairfield Manor West location (805 Ridley Drive), which currently offers transitional housing for up to 12 women and women with children (an expansion into the west wing of the building will offer six new spaces beginning on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, and increasing to a total of 17 spaces throughout January)
Many of these new spaces are opening with “financial support from the City of Kingston and the United Way KFL&A,” the City said.
“Supporting the expansion of services that offer unhoused individuals a safe, warm space to sleep is one part of the City’s approach in addressing homelessness in Kingston. We are continuing to work on collaborative efforts with community partners to ensure that all Kingston residents have access to housing supports and resources,” City of Kingston CAO Lanie Hurdle said in a statement.
The new warming centre on Cowdy Street opened without announcement on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, according to response from City of Kingston staff to Kingstonist inquiries into warm-up locations and new shelter locations. Those inquiries began over two weeks prior to the City’s announcement. The City of Kingston has not provided a list of daytime drop-in warm-up locations, which it used to provide in partnership with KFL&A Public Health, despite multiple requests for one since libraries closed at noon due to the incoming blizzard on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2022. With libraries and City of Kingston buildings closed to the public, there were no known drop-in warm-up locations for those seeking shelter throughout the rain and snow until 8 p.m. that night.
As previously reported, the expansion of Dawn House to a second location has been in the works since April 2022. Similarly, St. Mary’s Parish have been working on opening up overnight warm-up locations since the fall of 2022, and working with the City to try to open spaces, according to information provided by Rev. Shawn Hughes in early December 2022, in response to Kingstonist inquiries. St. Mary’s Cathedral has documented their work towards opening these spaces on their social media accounts, as well. The spaces St. Mary’s is opening are not being funded by the City of Kingston and/or United Way KFL&A, according to the release.
The City noted that more “shelter beds and supports for unhoused people” will be opening “later in the month of January.”