Trespass notices force encampment residents to move from Hamilton’s Woodlands Park

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Published September 8, 2023 at 7:31 pm

COURTESY OF WOODLANDS PARK FACEBOOK PAGE
COURTESY OF WOODLANDS PARK FACEBOOK PAGE

Most of the homeless encampment residents at a Hamilton park appear to have left the site after the City issued 33 trespass notices late last week. 

Danielle Blake, manager of housing-focused street outreach, said her team informed the Municipal Law Enforcement division on Aug. 25 that Woodlands Park was “non-compliant” when it came to the City’s new encampment protocol.

Blake did not provide specific details about how the encampment was non-compliant in her emailed response to inthehammer.com’s questions today (Sept. 8).

Hamilton ratified its revised homeless encampment protocol on Aug. 18. Among the requirements of the new protocol, encampments must be 100 metres from schools, day-care centres, playgrounds, pools, waterparks, or any spray pad and no more than 25 individuals are allowed at each site.

Upon hearing of the residents relocating, the Outreach team has been working with the remaining residents to provide options and supports,” she said.

She said encampment residents at Woodlands Park received 33 Notices of Trespass late last week. 

“Parks staff had attended the park earlier this week for routine cleanup and noticed residents gathering their belongings and moving on from the site,” she said. “The City did not have crews on scene to clean up this encampment.”

An individual was robbed at the Woodlands Park encampment at 501 Barton St E. on Sept. 6, days after the trespass notices were issued. Joshua Pilgram, 28, was arrested and charged with robbery, uttering threats and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Municipal Law Enforcement has issued a total of 137 trespass notices at 17 encampment locations in the city since Hamilton’s new protocol was approved, said Dan Smith, manager of licensing and bylaw services.

“Since the ratification of the new encampment protocol, the City has gained voluntary compliance on the notices that have been issued to date,” Smith said in an email to inthehammer.com today (Sept. 8). “By the end of the day yesterday, most occupants of the Woodlands Park encampment appeared to have relocated and left the area.  Since the Outreach team was not present, we cannot confirm where residents may have gone.”

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