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City of Kingston begins enforcing daytime camping ban, residents dig in – Kingston |


Kingston’s efforts to enforce its daytime camping ban at Belle Park appeared to have been stifled Wednesday after residents refused to move.

City by-law crews arrived at the park with trucks shortly after a city-called media conference began at another location around 10 a.m.

The move came after officials from the city toured the camp Tuesday warning residents the city would start applying a parks use by-law that will require those sheltering at parks to remove tents and other temporary structures one hour after sunrise, every day.

Under the rules, tents or temporary structures can be reestablished one hour before sunset.

Click to play video: 'Kingston to enforce daytime camping ban at Belle Park, city parks'

Kingston to enforce daytime camping ban at Belle Park, city parks

But city crews were blocked from entering the encampment by residents and a group of their supporters as rain fell Wednesday morning.

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Police were called in and things remained peaceful while the group of between 20-30 residents and supporters continued to block the roadway into the encampment.

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By-law enforcement left without removing any structures after about 20 minutes.

Kirk Sabiston, who lives at Belle Park with his wife and a dog, said receiving the notice from the city Tuesday was heartbreaking.

“I expected more out of our country,” he said when Global News caught up with him Tuesday.

“You know this is Canada, this is the best country in the world, where’s our government? Where’s our help? We’re stuck here — help us.”

A resident of the Belle Park encampment holds up a notice from the city he received Tuesday.

Darryn Davis/Global News

The city announced it would start enforcing a ban on daytime camping in municipally-owned parks during the first week of April, last month.

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The announcement follows a November 2023 decision from the Ontario Superior Court that stopped forced evictions at Belle Park, ruling a city bylaw banning overnight camping was not constitutional and violated the campers’ Section 7 Charter right to life, liberty and security.

City staff and fire officials have already been taking down permanent and semi-permanent structures at city parks under fire by-laws.

A number of fires reported at the Belle Park encampment have led to the removal of structures from the site in recent weeks.

— More to come.

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