HALIFAX — The City of Halifax is giving a group of people living in tents in a small park close to downtown 12 days to leave.
Halifax officials say people need to leave Meagher Park by July 17 because of declining health and safety conditions in the area.
The city says it has set up designated spots in four other parks where a total of 32 people without homes can set up tents and receive some services.
Last summer, a similar notice led to the arrests of 26 people outside the former public library in the city's downtown, as protesters demonstrated against contractors dismantling temporary wooden shelters.
The city says it hopes the designated areas for camping will avoid similar tensions this summer, noting there are spaces available for the residents of Meagher Park less than two kilometres away.
Halifax says it is closing Meagher Park to camping effective immediately.
"Municipal staff visited the park today to offer those currently sheltering in the park information on available resources, advise them that the park is being closed, and explain the transition period so they do not have to leave the park right away," the city said in a news release.
Officials say the alternative sites are equipped with portable toilets and garbage cans, adding that access to potable water, storage boxes and needle boxes is being arranged.
"Once vacated, Meagher Park will be fenced for reconstruction work over the coming months to return the park to its original state," the city said. "Service providers will continue to engage with individuals experiencing homelessness to identify options and resources that are available."
The Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia says that as of June 14, there were 200 shelter beds and 622 unhoused people in the city.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.
The Canadian Press