City responds to questions on Belle Park eviction

Kingston Police stand at the perimeter of Belle Park and City Staff disassemble tents and load up campers’ belongings at Belle Park on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Photo by Cris Vilela.

The City of Kingston has responded to questions regarding the forced eviction of Belle Park residents on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Robert Hosier, Communications Officer for the City of Kingston, provided the following responses to the Kingstonist via email.

1) At what point and by whom was the decision made to implement a physical eviction of the residents in Belle Park?

Council made the decision to not allow camping as of August 1st. Staff implemented a transition process that lasted over 1 month. City staff have a responsibility to implement Council’s direction.

2) What is the explanation for preventing people from going into the park to gather their belongings?

People are allowed to take some belongings with them but larger items are being stored.

3) What is the process for reuniting people with their stored belongings. How long will this process take?

The City has provided secure storage for personal belongings that were gathered during the cleanup. Belongings have been documented, tagged and placed in individuals lots at the storage. Individuals that would like to retrieve their items have received information on who to connect with at the City and can make an appointment to pick up their items.

4) Who determined that campers would be given one month after Aug. 1?

Although camping at Belle Park was no longer allowed as of August 1, City staff and community partners continued to provide transition time and support for individuals to find alternative solutions over the past few weeks. Both staff and members of community agencies continue to check in with individuals from Belle Park on a daily basis. Ultimately City staff are responsible to uphold Council’s direction to prohibit camping in any city park.

5) How many people remained without temporary or permanent housing at the end of the day?

We’re still collecting this data as our attention and resources remain fixed on having enough interim housing options available, facilitating transition and ensuring Belle Park is safe and accessible for everyone.

6) How much capacity was available at Artillery Park integrated services hub yesterday?

Artillery Park Aquatic Centre’s resting area was full but drop-in service is still accessible overnight. In From the Cold had six empty beds last night, and overflow was fully available which has 10 beds.

Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative

Samantha Butler-Hassan is a staff writer and life-long Kingston resident. She is a news junkie and mom who loves reading and exploring the community. This article has been made possible with the support of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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