During the protest to stop the eviction of the encampment in downtown Kitchener Wednesday, residents in a Cambridge encampment on private property were reportedly told to move along.
According to local advocates for the un-sheltered, Jennifer Laurie and Regan Sunshine Brusse, while hundreds were marching in Kitchener in an effort to stop the removal of the region’s largest camp, a verbal eviction notice was served on residents of an encampment along Highway 401, near Hespeler Road.
In posts made to social media, Laurie and Brusse criticized Mayor Kathryn McGarry and other council members for choosing the same route that Kitchener is taking, but a city official denies the municipality’s involvement.
“It is a grossly hot day, why pull this sh*t and add more strain at all, let alone on a day like today,” said Brusse in a tweet.
“The city is not responsible for evictions or notices of eviction on private properties and we have not issued any in the last 24 hours as has been reported on social media,” states an email from Julie Kalbfleisch, the city’s director of communications.
“The role of the municipality in these situations is in assisting un-housed individuals by connecting them with resources and support. The city is also responsible for the enforcement of municipal bylaws so we may have had staff present on the property but only in this capacity.”
The property owner, TC Energy, has been working with the city, region and local law enforcement over the past two months to remove the camp from the property.
"We have been collaborating with the City of Cambridge, Waterloo Regional Police and local social services to support the relocation of people unlawfully occupying a TC Energy owned property in Cambridge, Ont," said TC Energy in an email. "We continue to collaborate with authorities and support local outreach. We recognize that homelessness is a significant issue in this community and as a good neighbour, we’ve committed $10,000 to the local food bank."
The property owner said their main concern is the people, including the un-housed individuals on the site and the surrounding community members.
"We recognize this is a challenging situation for everyone involved," they said. "Individuals unlawfully occupying the property are trespassing, and they were previously and repeatedly asked verbally to voluntarily leave this site by June 2. We have approached this situation thoughtfully and carefully and provided significant time for people to relocate."
As the landowner, they said they have a legal responsibility to adhere to all applicable laws and regulations including maintaining the safety and security of the property.
The region of Waterloo has not responded to comments about the notice.