Halifax is considering designating more camps as current camps exceed their capacity

Halifax is considering designating more camps as current camps exceed their capacity

Several new camps are coming to the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Council approved a motion to designate more encampments at a meeting Tuesday. The highest priority locations considered were Cogswell Park, Glebe Street Park and the berm on the Halifax Commons at the corner of North Park Street and Cogswell Street, as well as two locations in Dartmouth at Farrell Street Park and Starr Park.

“There are many reasons why no space should be used for this, but we have no choice. If we have no choice, we are simply allowing overcrowding to occur in designated areas and encampments to occur in other areas that we cannot address, such as in Northbrook,” said Councilman Sam Austin.

The council also passed a motion to update the criteria describing where sheltering is not allowed.

There are currently 13 people staying at Northbrook Park in Dartmouth, which is not a designated location.

The four currently designated camps have 88 tents or structures in sites that HRM says are only suitable for 30.

According to HRM, there were 1,316 homeless people in the region on June 25. It is estimated that around 150 people are sleeping on the streets in urban areas.

“This comes from our report in early June, where we basically said we’re back to a situation where we’re out of space. Provincial pilots haven’t come when we need them, and so we’re back to a situation where people have nowhere to go,” Austin said. “They’re going to take shelter outside, and then we’re left with the horrible choice of which public spaces we’re going to let this happen in.”

While waiting for additional resources from the province, such as pallet shelters and tiny homes, the city will designate another location in Dartmouth at the corner of Bancroft Lane and Marketplace Drive.

Tents are seen at Victoria Park in Halifax on May 3, 2023. (Bruce Frisko/CTV Atlantic)

The location is expected to be ready in mid-September or early October.

Staff is considering a number of other options, including Point Pleasant Park in Halifax, but many council members are opposed to it.

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