On July 14th, The CLRA was notified by some residents that there appeared to be an encampment growing at Wells Hill Park.
We brought this to the attention of Councillor Josh Matlow who reported back to us on July 15th.
From Councillor Matlow’s Office
The City’s approach to encampments is a multidisciplinary effort with staff from Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Transportation Services, Solid Waste Management Services, and Shelter, Support and Housing Administration with support from Municipal Licensing and Standards and Toronto Police Service to ensure the safety of all. This unfortunately is an issue that has been happening and continues to happen in parks throughout our City, including Rosedale and parts of the Harbourfront.
The City’s Streets to Homes outreach staff and external agencies work with individuals daily to conduct wellness checks and offer all people sleeping outside access to inside space in advance of any move of an encampment site. During the COVID-19 pandemic, if an encampment is vacated by individuals choosing to access shelter, respite sites, hotels or housing, then the site is cleaned by City staff. Outreach teams approach people at encampments days in advance of any moves. If an offer to access these supports is refused, a notification of encampment clearing is issued, and the site is cleared by City staff and contracted services.
Camping outdoors in parks and rights-of-way is prohibited in the city of Toronto. Open flames, generators, propane tanks, and lack of access to water and sanitation increases health and safety risks for individuals, as well as to the community in general. The City has implemented rigorous Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) measures at all City-run and funded sites in the shelter system to minimize the spread of COVID and protect clients.
The City of Toronto remains focused on the safety of those in encampments and on moving people sleeping outdoors to safe indoor space. The City continues to secure spaces to offer to people who are staying at encampments throughout the city.
Councillor Matlow’s Office also notified the City’s Parks Ambassador- Troy Ford to bring this to his team’s immediate attention.
UPDATE JULY 25
The number of tents did not grow beyond the two first reported. By July 25th both tents had been removed from the park.