City begins to dismantle Alexandra Park encampment – .

City begins to dismantle Alexandra Park encampment – .

Toronto Police said two people were arrested at Alexandra Park this morning as city staff began clearing a camp in downtown park today.

In a statement released Tuesday, the city of Toronto confirmed that this morning, trespassing notices issued in the park, located near Dundas and Bathurst streets, on June 12 are applied this morning.

The city says there are between 28 and 35 people currently living in the park.

“All homeless people in this camp… are provided a safe indoor space, with access to meals, showers and laundry facilities, harm reduction, physical and mental health supports and a housing worker,” indicates the press release of the city.

“The occupants will have time to prepare two bags of personal effects to take with them. All other personal effects will be collected and stored for up to 30 days for future pickup. There are over 60 structures on site, including tents and makeshift structures.

Toronto Police said one person was arrested at the park this morning for public drunkenness and a second was arrested for trespassing. A third person was arrested and released at the scene, police said.

The park will be closed today and the city said Toronto police would be on the scene to “keep the occupants of the camp, city workers and the public safe.”

“The city remains focused on providing a social service response to settlements and voluntary and peaceful referrals for people sleeping outside to safer indoor accommodation,” the statement continued.

The town came under fire last month for law enforcement activities during the dismantling of an encampment in Trinity Bellwoods Park.

On June 22, the shelter administration, private security and police, some in full riot gear, showed up in the West Park to remove about 25 people living in tents and other structures.

Protesters also arrived to defend residents of the encampment and three people were later arrested after clashes with police.

Nationally renowned photojournalist Ian Willms, who documented the evictions, was also arrested, a move the Canadian Association of Journalists called a “total overreaction.”

Mayor John Tory defended the city’s law enforcement activities, telling CP24 that the evictions were “mostly peaceful”.

“I stand by what we’ve done, which is a reasonable, firm, but compassionate way of handling this where we offer, and we offer, and we offer ways to get people safely inside the housing,” but there comes a time when he comes camping in parks, which is dangerous and illegal, where you have to take action, ”Tory told CP24 last month.

Dozens of police could be seen in Alexandra Park this morning, including members of the mounted unit.

City of Toronto spokesperson Brad Ross said the role of the police is simply to “keep the peace”.

“This is a city-led operation and city staff are working to get people inside. The police presence is to ensure that people stay safe and that peace is maintained, ”he told CP24 on Tuesday morning.

He added that the encampment had “significantly” impacted the surrounding neighborhood and noted that a day camp which typically takes place in the park every summer had to be canceled this year as a result.

“We officially closed the park today, but for all intents and purposes the park has not been accessible,” Ross said.

“All city parks need to be accessible and safe for everyone across the city and Alexandra Park is certainly no different. ”


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