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“Tent city” demonstration coming to an end

The second “tent city” demonstration by North Bay’s homeless population appears to be coming to an end. 

An eviction notice was posted at the encampment Thursday morning, stating the demonstrators were in violation of Bylaw no. 35-96, which prohibits camping in public parks. 

The notice also states campers must disassemble by 2 pm on Thursday. The phone numbers of five social service agencies were also provided. 

Sergeant John Cook of the North Bay Police Service was at the encampment early Thursday morning along with a representative from the District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board.

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Cook says members from each of the city’s social services will be coming in throughout the morning with transportation and storage containers to help connect campers to warm shelter.

“We’ll be doing everything in our power to convince the people to go,” Cook said. “If you’re choosing not to go to one of our shelters, nobody gets forced to go there, but they will have to vacate the property. We’ll be here to supervise as they pack up their belongings.”

A statement from city hall says the city has been working for “more than a week” with the city’s social services to inform members of the encampment of shelter services available. 

The statement also says that citizens do have the right to protest on the ground of city hall, but cannot set up a camp. 

“As the encampment has expanded, so have the risks associated with the personal security of the individuals on site, propane tanks, generators, open flames, sanitation and cold weather […] The city is asking for the co-operation of those in the encampment so that we can collectively work together to help people experiencing homelessness find safer housing options.” read the statement.

Shane Moyer, a homeless advocate who helped organize the tent city, says he doesn’t plan to take down his tent. 

“We’re told to stand our ground by the elders,” Moyer said. 

There have been over a dozen tents set up on the lawn outside the North Bay Public Library since early November in the second such demonstration seen since September. People in the camp estimate between 30 and 40 have been staying there. 

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