A month after a massive operation to clear encampments at Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park, authorities have moved in to end a months-long encampment at Alexandra Park and police say three people have been arrested.
A Toronto police spokesperson told Global News the first arrest occurred at around 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday. An update said a person was arrested for trespassing, a second person was arrested for public intoxication and the third was arrested on an outstanding warrant.
According to a news release issued by the City of Toronto early Tuesday, the move came after trespass notices were issued to those living at park, located at Bathurst Street and Dundas Street West.
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Officials estimated there are 28 to 35 people are living at the park and said there are approximately 60 structures on the site.
“All individuals experiencing homelessness in this encampment … are being offered safe, indoor space, with access to meals, showers and laundry, harm reduction, physical and mental health supports, and a housing worker,” the statement said, noting the park will be closed on Tuesday while the operation occurs.
“All individuals will be required to leave the park, which will allow City crews to start removing debris and restoring the grounds.
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“Occupants will be given time to pack two bags of belongings to take with them. All other belongings will be collected and stored for up to 30 days for future pickup.”
Security guards and orange fencing could be seen along Dundas Street West.
The statement said there have been 146 calls for service from municipal officials and emergency crews. In September, a fire broke out at the park after a cardboard box was placed over a generator at the park.
Posts on the Toronto Police Service’s Twitter account Tuesday morning said officers were there to support City staff.
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“We will respond, if needed. Together our goal is the safety of everyone involved including residents/staff/public,” a tweet said.
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“Throughout the day when requested to do so by @cityoftoronto staff, officers will respond with the least amount of force necessary.”
Meanwhile, the push to clear Alexandra Park followed municipal action taken on June 22 at Trinity Bellwoods Park that saw clashes between Toronto police officers and protesters.
Dozens of officers, bylaw enforcement officers, security guards attended the park to oversee the removal of those living in the park as large temporary fences were erected at the southwest corner of the park. The response was heavily criticized by advocates at the time.
Many who live in the camps previously told Global News the shelters and hotels offered by the City of Toronto aren’t a desirable option in part due to the limit on belongings and the rules and curfews imposed as well as other safety-related issues.
This is a developing story that will be updated.
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