Today, following an extensive effort by the municipality over the last several months focused on education, awareness and engagement, Halifax Regional Police and municipal compliance officers attended a number of municipally-owned sites to help safely remove encampments that have been set up in violation of existing laws and regulations.
At approximately 6:15 a.m. officers along with municipal staff were present at Peace and Friendship Park, Halifax Common, Horseshoe Island Park and the site of the former Spring Garden Road Library. Following an extensive and progressive effort, actions were taken today in the interest of public safety and safety of the occupants of these dwellings.
At the Spring Garden Road site, a group of people made repeated attempts to prevent the removal of the temporary shelters. As a result, a number of people were arrested for obstructing police officers in the execution of their duties as well as for assault police. We expect these individuals to be released on a Promise to Appear in court at later dates.
“We have an obligation to protect public safety, as well as the safety of those living in these encampments. Over the last several months, there has been a progressive increase in calls for service and complaints related to these encampment sites and surrounding areas, said HRP Chief Dan Kinsella. “Our approach always starts with engagement, and we continue to work with the municipality, service providers and community partners on ways to best support people experiencing homelessness.”
The earlier efforts over many weeks and months included ongoing offers of support and services by municipal staff, posting signage in municipal parks and visits to sites, advising tent occupants both verbally, and most recently through written notices, to vacate and remove all belongings from municipal property. Every effort was made to allow the occupants of encampments to voluntarily vacate and remove their belongings from the municipal property.