Council was told security hired to prevent encampments wouldn’t make arrests. One councillor is questioning why city documents say otherwise.
Councillors on the city’s executive committee called for action Tuesday, voting unanimously to table a request to the province calling for the city to immediately stop all illegal public camping in response to campers sleeping in their streets, sidewalks, and public spaces.
At one point during the meeting, councillors suggested council consider moving its downtown business unit, from a large warehouse on Queen Street to an industrial park on College Street, where some camping is happening, said councillor Sarah Peirce.
“We’re starting to get really concerned about our downtown,” she said.
Peirce said she will keep working to find solutions, and urged residents to call their municipal councillor for support.
“Let their voices be heard. Let the community come together,” she said.
Councillor Tom Galloway moved first, to table the request for the province to immediately stop illegal camping, and he suggested all forms of illegal camping be stopped.
He said he received a similar request from Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and Mayor Brian Orser.
Mayor Orser said in an email that it is “common sense” to do what he suggested, adding in a subsequent email that he supports the idea of the city to take action.
“I do believe that this approach is a good one. It is not one that has a lot of negative impacts on the city,” he said.
Mayor Brian Bowman said in an email that he is following the story.
“There has been an ongoing conversation with all council, with a number of council members from across the spectrum on this issue,” he said.
“I am following that debate, and also the conversation going on in Winnipeg and around the province in this very difficult situation. I’m sure it will continue.”
Coun. Janice Lukes said she’s looking for answers and isn’t buying the reason for the camping