PEI

Police clear camp under Charlottetown bridge

A group of young people camping underneath Hillsborough Bridge were evicted by Charlottetown police Tuesday.

A group of young people camping underneath Hillsborough Bridge were evicted by Charlottetown police Tuesday.

The group was discovered by work crews who arrived at 7 a.m. to start cleaning bird droppings from the bridge girders. They said there were eight or nine people in tents and sleeping bags.

Worker Nathan MacQuarrie came prepared for the day's work dressed in a hazmat suit and mask. He said bird droppings are toxic, and he was concerned about what the campers were breathing in.

"Just the dust off pigeon poop can be harmful to the lungs," said MacQuarrie.

"Not a great area to be living."

Police removed the campers without incident. Deputy chief Gary McGuigan was surprised to hear about the under-bridge dwellers.

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"It's not unusual in fairy tales, but it is unusual here at the Hillsborough Bridge," said McGuigan.

"I think it's the first time I can recall having anybody living under the bridge."

CBC News found one of the campers busking on Queen Street. Lisa, who wouldn't give her last name, is from Montreal. She said she spent a couple of nights under the bridge.

"We cleaned off an area, and we weren't sleeping right on the ground, We have, like, tarps and tents," she said.

While the living arrangements may be considered unusual in Charlottetown, it's not uncommon in the rest of Canada, she said.   The under-bridge dwellers left behind chairs, pillows and other supplies, and it's possible they will return in a few days once the workers are finished cleaning.

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