City seeks Ontario Superior Court of Justice order to remove Belle Park encampment
June 1, 2023
At Council’s direction, the City of Kingston will bring an application before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice seeking an order to remove the encampment at Belle Park.
Trespass notices were issued in March 2023, but the City has not forcibly removed anyone, instead focusing on a peaceful transition. We have worked with our community partners to offer several low barrier shelter options and strongly encouraged people remaining in the area to take advantage of these services, including drop-in shelters, free transportation, and safe storage of belongings. Since issuing the trespass notices, most individuals in the encampment were safely relocated with access to appropriate services and supports.
The City remains committed to addressing homelessness and the mental health and addictions crisis in Kingston; the safety of all our residents is our top priority, taking into consideration the complexity of needs for all those involved. There have been serious incidents occurring at the encampment, which pose health and safety concerns for the remaining encampment residents, service providers and surrounding neighbours.
Kingston offers low-barrier shelter options to accommodate different needs, including couples, women-only, people with pets, and a wide range of support services. A low barrier shelter generally means requirements for entry are limited or minimal for the people who wish to stay there. There is capacity to accommodate individuals remaining in the encampment, but some have declined offers of shelter and support. The City is seeking guidance from the Court to address this situation.