Thu. May 26th, 2022

The city of Toronto spent nearly $ 2 million on clearing three homeless camps and subsequently repairing the parks, figures released by municipal officials show Friday.

In a press release, the city stated that the cost of enforcing infringement notices in Trinity Bellwoods Park, Alexandra Park and Lamport Stadium Park was $ 840,127.

Officials said it included costs for police and security, fire, paramedics, transportation services, waste management to remove dirt as well as “other operating costs”, including buses and personal protective equipment.

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Fences were placed around the parks as officials worked to enforce violation notices and after parks were cleared while remediating the grounds.

The cost of fencing at the three parks was about $ 357,000, officials said. All fences have since been removed and the parks reopened.

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Meanwhile, the current construction cost for the parks is listed as $ 792,668.

“Restoring full grass will take more than a season,” the release states.

“Germinating seeds will be applied in the fall, and further sowing will take place in the spring and fall of 2022.”

The city said it issued violations in April and again in June to those in camps.

The order was later enforced, sometimes resulting in violent scenes and arrests.

The city said the camps are illegal and officials have cited the risk of fires and the need to make parks accessible to all as factors behind camp clearings.

Municipal officials said they have been working to refer people living in camps to indoor spaces. Since the start of the pandemic, 835 people from four major camps have been deported indoors.

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Nearly 6,640 people experiencing homelessness moved from shelters to permanent housing from April 2020 to August this year, officials noted, while more than 1,898 people living in camps have been relocated to indoor spaces since April 2020.

However, many who live in the camps previously told Global News that shelters and hotels offered by the city of Toronto are not a desirable option in part because of the property boundary and the imposed rules and curfews as well as other security-related issues.

The city said it is investing $ 663.2 million in homelessness and housing solutions this year compared to $ 365.8 million spent in 2019.

With files from Nick Westoll

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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