On Dec. 6, 2022, the motion to evict members of the Victoria Street camp was deferred.
Fightback KW is organizing a similar encampment at the island of Willow River Park.
Regional councilors protracted a debate and vote on whether council approval should be required before any evictions of homeless encampments at 100 Victoria St. N.
Coun. Rob Deutschmann gave notice of a motion to evict the homeless encampment members.
The Victoria Street encampment began with 20 residents in 14 tents on Mar. 24. As the encampment grew, so did the call for access to washroom facilities. Near the end of April, the city council approved 24/7 access to washrooms for those living in both encampments.
Both encampments will be reviewed and final decisions will be voted on by the council, prior to any eviction.
Justice Michael Valente is expected to issue a decision in the coming weeks on an injunction application made during the previous term of council.
The first eviction date issued by city council was set on June 30. The region posted a notice at the camp when there were more than 50 tents.
Ed Edwards is one of the organizers at Fightback KW and has helped ensure that encampment resources are replenished. During the winter months, Fightback KW continues to take donations of sleeping bags, winter clothing and tents.
“We all came together for one common cause members from other different community groups around and all came together,” Edwards said.
On July 1, 2022, Victoria Street encampment members were slated to be evicted.
Although the city council did not go through with this eviction, some members of this camp moved to Willow River Park. There were about 10-15 tents that were set up in the park throughout the summer this year.
As of December, there were 60 people staying on the island.
Due to the urgency in which the Victoria Street encampment was established, there is no organization behind its inception. Much of the information was spread through online resources.
On July 13, the Region of Waterloo filed court papers to remove the encampment.
“There was a chat group set up to warn people if there was going to be a move of police. It also became a way to spread where people need water and then someone would show up with a couple of cases,” Edwards said.
Encampmenwt members and concerned citizens of WR still remember the previous eviction in Nov. 2021 to demolish the tents and belongings of people who were living on Stirling Ave. in Kitchener.
There was much public outcry, as positions said they were not notified of the eviction in advance.
“I feel disappointment about how it seems like some of the community is reacting to it. It’s like the people who have so much are the ones who are most put out by everything and it just seems ridiculous to me,” Edwards said.
Right at the beginning of the encampment at Willow River Park, most of the resources such as tents, sleeping bags and food were purchased by the members of Fightback KW.
As the weather gets colder, the organization team has been trying to get sub-zero sleeping bags and insulation for people who are sleeping on the ground.