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Memorial Park pavilion removed day after city actions in encampment

City communications issue statement to Sudbury.com surrounding complaints and bylaw violations at the city park and some infrastructure from the park has been removed.

A day after the City of Greater Sudbury dismantled a homeless encampment in Memorial Park, the pavilion that was an ad hoc shelter for many has now been removed.

On Aug. 13, the pavilion in Memorial Park, home to several ceremonies and presentations over the years and most recently, roofed accommodation for people who are homeless, was completely removed as of 1 p.m. All that remains is the stone pad and the hydro box that sat to one side; a security vehicle sits parked in the middle.  

Sudbury.com has reached out to the city to confirm the removal of the pavilion as a city action. As well, sources told Sudbury.com the electricity powering the lights, as well as the outlets on the light stands, have been turned off and that the water to the splash pad has also been stopped. This story will be updated when that information is available.

Outreach workers told Sudbury.com that the belongings of those who were asked to leave the park yesterday were not distributed to them at the CP Rail lot off Elgin Street, contrary to what they were told on Aug. 12.

The outreach workers and a Sudbury.com reporter overheard at least two city employees, one a bylaw officer, report that the items collected would be available to their owners on Aug. 13 at noon. However, the items had not been returned at the time of publishing.

An outreach worker said when they contacted the bylaw officer, they were told no items would be brought there, as no one “took them up on their offer.”

In what was described by many in attendance at Memorial Park on Aug. 12 as the most intense and emotional encampment dismantling yet, there were calls for mayoral intervention, as well as attendance by “the higher ups.” You can read that story here

At 5 p.m. on Aug. 12, the city issued a statement to Sudbury.com describing their actions in Memorial Park as offering support and resources, but also, that the actions were taken based on the bylaw violation that is overnight camping on city property. 

In lieu of the requested interview specifically to discuss the dismantling, the communications department sent the following:  

“Security enforcement officers continue to visit various areas in the community to offer support, resources and community outreach services to those experiencing homelessness.

“We have received complaints and concerns about the well-being of people who have set up tents in Memorial Park. Security enforcement officers have attended the area numerous times to offer support, resources and community outreach services to those experiencing homelessness. During these visits, it has been made clear that overnight camping is not allowed in this area under the city's Parks and Zoning bylaws. Written reminders of the bylaws were also recently provided, along with information on accessible support services in the downtown.

“Today, security enforcement officers and Parks Services staff, with the support of the Greater Sudbury Police Service, attended Memorial Park to help with packing and moving personal items. Outreach staff were on hand to assist with the transition. Staff also provided transit vouchers to those in need of transportation.

“We continue to encourage people who are experiencing homelessness to access available services and connect people with social supports and housing services.”

More to come.