A month after the controversial clearing of Trinity Bellwoods Park, the scene was quite different yesterday as the city moved to evacuate residents of the encampment at nearby Alexandra Park on Bathurst Street south of Dundas Street West.
This time police and workers arrived at the park in the early morning to erect a metal fence around the encampment area, which would keep protesters, media and bystanders at a distance as city staff talked with camp residents.
The goal was to encourage them to accept the city’s offer to move them into shelters and housing where they would have access to meals, laundry, medical support and social services.
In the end 11 camp residents took up the offer, while another 15 declined but left the park of their own accord, city staff said. Those heading to shelters or housing were allowed to take two bags of possessions with them.
Then staff proceeded to collect the residents’ remaining belongings to be returned to them later and to take down the tents and other structures in the encampment.
“Throughout the day, Toronto Police officers supported the City and used the least amount of force necessary to make arrests and were measured in their approach,” police said in a statement. “There were no injuries.”
The move was not without incident though as nine people were arrested.
Arrested not staying at camp
However, only two of the arrests were of encampment residents,
One was a 31-year-old man charged with trespassing, as well as on an outstanding arrest warrant for failing to comply.
A 37-year-old woman was investigated and arrested on an outstanding warrant for fraud and possession of property obtained by crime, police said.
The other seven arrests were of people not staying at the camp, six of whom were arrested for trespassing. They were either issued a ticket and released, or released without charges, according to police.
A 42-year-old man not staying at the camp was also arrested for public intoxication.
The city reported in the afternoon 68 structures had so far been removed from the park, as well propane tanks and gasoline canisters. Removal of debris from the park would continue.
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