November court date set as region applies to evict people from Kitchener encampment
Two days set aside for trial: Nov. 7 and 8
Trial dates of Nov. 7 and 8 have been set for a judge to hear the Region of Waterloo's application to evict people who live in an encampment on regional property at the corner of Victoria Street and Weber Street in Kitchener.
James Bennett, the lawyer for the region, had hoped to have a trial in mid-October, but the current court calendar did not make that possible. He asked Justice Michael Valente to advise lawyers if dates in mid-to-late October become available.
"The situation at the tent encampment is deteriorating," he told the Kitchener courtroom Wednesday morning, also describing it as "chaotic."
"This is not a safe and happy tent encampment," said Bennett.
There are about 60 people living in tents on the regionally owned property. It started with one person in January and grew in the spring. The region alleges people living on the site are in breach of the Municipal Act. The region had previously given occupants a June 30 deadline to leave the property.
Shannon Down from Waterloo Region Community Legal Services is representing 10 individuals at the encampment. She noted there are people at the encampment who may not be capable of retaining a lawyer because of drug addiction or mental health concerns, but the decision made by the court "will affect their lives."
Other people may want to be involved as intervenors or third-parties to the legal process, the lawyers said, so Valente set a date of Aug. 31 for people to let the court know if they wish to take part.
Valente also asked for confirmation that the court action is only for the encampment on Victoria Street. Bennett confirmed that it is, however added it will "serve as a precedent" for other encampments in the region.
A notice of the November court dates will be posted at the encampment site.