Tenting in Parks Update

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Peterborough, ON – Enforcement of the new Parks and Facilities By-laws passed by City and County Councils last week continued today with the issuing of notices to campers in public parks to remove their tents. Support services were on site providing assistance to people who are homeless.

“By-law enforcement typically starts with efforts to inform, educate and assist people to achieve compliance before any further measures are considered,” said Cynthia Fletcher, Acting Chief Administrative Officer. “Ideally, there is voluntary compliance with by-laws, which is part of the continuum of enforcement.”

Staff from Social Services and by-law enforcement, as well as representatives from community agencies, were in Victoria Park on Monday, August 19 to provide information on compliance with the Parks and Facilities By-laws and assist people who need shelter.

Throughout this process, the health and safety of all involved – people who are tenting, the broader community who use public parks, and support workers – is a priority, Fletcher said.

“The City is proceeding with empathy while at the same time respecting the unanimous direction given by each Council, as expressed through its Parks and Facilities By-Law, to ensure the shared use and enjoyment of public parks and the protection of the natural environment,” she said.

Over the past month, there has been on average about 30 shelter beds available each night, among the 110 beds in the shelter system. The City has the capacity to add more shelter beds, if there is a need.

The City, working with YES Shelter for Youth and Families, Brock Mission, Fourcast, and the Peterborough and District United Way, opened 30 overflow beds in a temporary location at the Peterborough Public Library, 345 Aylmer St. N., starting on July 17, 2019. The overflow beds are available from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m., outside of the Library’s normal operating hours. The City is continuing to look for a longer-term location for the overflow shelter bed service.

Since early July, outreach workers have had a regular presence in Victoria Park in addition to their normal work of connecting with people who are living rough in other areas of the City.

Following the passing of Parks and Facilities By-Laws by City Council on August 12, 2019 and by County Council on August 14, 2019, Social Services staff are now in Victoria Park from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

“It’s hoped that with the passing of the by-laws that people who are camping in parks without a permit and who are homeless will now be more willing to engage with shelter and housing services,” Fletcher said.

The City and its partner agencies, such as Fourcast, help about 15 people a month move from homelessness into housing.

“It’s essential that the City has accurate information on the people who need housing in order to inform longer-term decisions addressing homelessness and make appropriate resources available; to get that information, people are encouraged to cooperate with outreach workers,” Fletcher said.

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For additional information, members of the media are invited to contact:

Brendan Wedley

Manager of Communication Services

City of Peterborough

705-742-7777 ext. 1636