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Moncton's tent city denizens set up new settlement near shelter
MONCTON -- It's a familiar sight in Moncton -- a new tent city.
One month ago, a tent site on Albert Street closed down, but many of the people who live there have moved to a new settlement near High and Park streets.
"I wasn't surprised by it at all," said Cal Maskery, co-founder of Harvest House Atlantic. "Because once you close that one site, they're going to pop up in other places. We kind of expected that would take place."
On Sunday night, a fire near the site was caught on camera.
Moncton South MLA Cathy Rogers says her phone has been ringing off the hook with complaints.
"Neighbours are afraid for children that are walking back and forth to school," Rogers said. "They are afraid for garbage that's left out attracting rodents."
The city says it was originally given the green light to tear the site down, but couldn't proceed because it says the land is actually owned by province.
According to the city, the matter is being dealt with through the sheriff's office and needs a court order.
Doug Cormier owns several properties in the neighbourhood and says they've had to be boarded up so trespassers can't get inside. He says the site is affecting his business.
"All the people that feel bad for these homeless, which I understand, but I do have rights also," Cormier said.
The site is across the street from the Harvest House shelter, but many are choosing to camp out instead.
"It's more privacy, and it's more personal choice that they can choose to do what they want to do," Maskery said.
A new shelter on Albert Street was supposed to open Aug. 1, but it has been delayed. There's been no update as to when it may open now.
"The needs are greater than a shelter," Rogers said. "We need affordable housing that is permanent, we need transitional, a variety, and housing that has supports and services for people."
Many are calling for immediate action to be taken before the colder weather rolls in.
The tent city is on land owned by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Questions on whether the site will be dismantled or not were not answered by the department Monday. They simply said they are aware of the situation and are evaluating all options.