As announced last week, the City of Kingston has started removing services temporarily offered to those living at Belle Park.
Council previously set July 31 as the eviction deadline for about 40 or so people who set up camp at the park during the pandemic, but the city has maintained that no forced evictions would be taking place.
Instead, the city said they planned to cut services like power, portable toilets and garbage collection.
“We are doing everything we can to avoid evictions while implementing the Council decision to not allow camping at Belle Park after July 31st,” said Lanie Hurdle, the city’s CAO, in a press release on Tuesday.
“The announcement last week and the planned removal of these services are meant to encourage those who are still in Belle Park to seek out one of the interim housing options being offered, as it is no longer legal to camp in any Kingston park,”
The washrooms and garbage containers in the park’s clubhouse will remain open for any members of the public.
Later this week, the city says it will conduct an initial clean-up of the former camp, including clearing a number of vacant tents, which it says were left behind by those who have since vacated the park.
The city is now directing those living at the camp to the Integrated Care Hub at the Artillery Park, which is run by HIV Aids Regional Services (HARS), and offers 24-hour access to electricity, Wi-Fi, washrooms, showers, rest areas, meals and referrals to community supports, among other services.
The city also noted that council will be discussing on relocating the Integrated Care Hub, which will be moved from Artillery Park at the end of September, since the city has been receiving complaints from those living around the facility.
In response to those complaints, the city says it has increased garbage collection, added extra security and added a needle disposal location at Artillery Park.
Council will be discussing more permanent locations for the hub at Tuesday’s council meeting.
The city says it is continuing to work with those who remain at Belle Park to relocate them.