Tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, the City of Kingston and Kingston Fire & Rescue staff will begin a clean-up of debris, garbage and other combustibles at the Belle Park encampment, to address health and safety concerns in the wake of three significant tent fires in a 24-hour period, the City has communicated.
According to a release from the city, the work will require the temporary movement of some structures and campers’ belongings to permit the required equipment to access the site. Any temporary movement of structures is not as a result of enforcement of the City’s Parks By-Law, the City stated.
Agency supports will be readily accessible during this time, according to the release. City staff are coordinating with Addictions & Mental Health Services and Homebase Housing to assist with supporting campers affected by the clean-up.
“Street Outreach, Housing First, and Safety & Engagement staff will be on-site,” the City said.
The City said it is providing free bus passes, Tim Horton’s gift cards, and a truck to help affected campers move their belongings out of the clean-up area. Storage bins will reportedly also be accessible should campers choose to safely store their belongings at 362 Montreal Street.
According to the release, this work is weather-dependent and may take place over a few days.
Kingstonist has reached out to Kingston Fire & Rescue for more details on the “significant tent fires” that have occurred at Belle Park, including when, where, and how those fires started. Kingstonist has also inquired with the City of Kingston as to what exactly is being cleaned up and why the shelters need to be moved in order to do so. The City of Kingston has communicated that they are looking into Kingstonist’s inquiries; response is expected on the morning of Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024.
“The City thanks its community partners for their continued collaboration and support during this time,” the press release from the City of Kingston said.
This article will be updated if/when more information becomes available.