The 49-year-old man accused of attempted murder in the attack of a teenage girl on a Gatineau trail was staying at a homeless shelter that day, but did not live in the so-called "tent city" near the scene of the assault, those who lived there told CBC News.

The small camp near a creek behind the Robert Guertin Centre and École secondaire de l'Île was dismantled after a 16-year-old girl was seriously injured in an attack on a nearby trail on Tuesday afternoon. Now there are only seagulls and old fire pits left.

tent city

The site of a former camp set up by homeless people in Gatineau after it was dismantled. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

The accused was staying at the Gîte Ami emergency shelter on the day of the attack but was not a regular, board chair Gilles Clouthier told CBC News.

A man who would identify himself only as Mike told CBC News that in the five years he has lived in the camp, the accused rarely visited when he was staying at the nearby shelter.

"What I don't understand if after what happened the other day, is they're blaming us. I don't understand why they're pointing [at] the tent city," he said. "Now they're throwing us out of a place, out of our tents that we call home."

Council to decide on camp's future

The City of Gatineau has been involved with the tent city as a pilot project for the past two summers. The tents had been cleared out before the winter, but a few people had set back up. 

City council will be making a final decision on its future in the coming weeks, the office of Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pednaud-Jobin told CBC News. The mayor refused a request for an interview.

'It has nothing to do with the camp. We need help here.' - Tent city resident, Mike

The president of Commission scolaire des Portages-de-l'Outaouais said Wednesday that the school board has previously detailed concerns to the mayor about the proximity of the camp to École secondaire de l'Île.

But Mike said the mayor should not link Tuesday's attack to the camp.

"There's only one thing I'm trying to tell the mayor, it's not to use this as an example," he said. "It has nothing to do with the camp. We need help here."