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Halifax council approves 9 new designated encampment sites for homeless

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There will be a number of new encampment sites in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

The highest priority locations that were being considered Tuesday afternoon include:

  •  Cogswell Park in Halifax
  •  Glebe Street Park in Halifax
  •  the berm on the Halifax Commons located at the corner of North Park Street and Cogswell Street
  •  Farrell Street Park in Dartmouth
  •  Starr Park in Dartmouth

The nine new sites that have been approved include seven situated on the Halifax peninsula, including:

  •  Windsor Street Park
  •  BiHi Park
  •  Chain Lake Park
  •  Cogswell Park
  •  Glebe Street Park
  •  Halifax Common berm
  •  Point Pleasant Park.

In Dartmouth, new designated sites include:

  •  Bissett Road Park
  •  Geary Street green space 

"There's lots of reasons why none of the spaces should be used for that, but we have no other choice because in the absence of making a choice, we're just allowing overcrowding to occur at designated sites, and encampments to pop up in other locations with no ability to deal with them, like Northbrook," said Councillor Sam Austin.

Council also approved a motion to update the criteria describing where sheltering is not permitted.

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

The four current designated encampment sites have 88 tents or structures in spaces HRM said is only suitable for 30.

According to HRM, there were 1,316 homeless people in the region as of June 25. It estimates up to 150 people are sleeping rough in urban areas.

"This is coming out of our report from the start of June that basically said you're back into the situation where we have no space available. Provincial pilots have not come when we needed them to, and so we're back to there's nowhere for people to go," said Austin. "They're going to be sheltering outside, and then we're left with the awful choice of which public spaces are we going to allow this to happen in."

It said while it waits for additional resources from the province such as pallet shelters and tiny homes, the municipality will designate another site in Dartmouth at the corner of Bancroft Lane and Marketplace Drive.

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

That location is expected to be ready by mid-September or early October.

Staff are considering a number of other options, including Point Pleasant Park in Halifax; however many members of council were opposed.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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