The province and municipality have been working together to find a solution to offer shelter and protect those living in tent camps before an upcoming storm that will bring torrential rains and strong winds.
There are currently 12 camps installed throughout the municipality.
The city’s Deputy Chief of Emergency Management, Erika Fleck, said there would be a comfort center located downtown that will provide food and water, as well as an emergency shelter at the George Dixon Center.
“We also have search and rescue teams on the ground tonight that will be deployed and going to all the areas that we know are currently camps to offer residents a place to provide transportation and shelter if they wish to go,” Fleck said during a press conference Monday afternoon.
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John Griffin, a Peoples Park resident since August, said he and the other residents were grateful that Fleck stopped by and told them about the plan. However, Griffin says he feels compelled to stay and “weather the storm.”
He said he feels responsible for taking care of the shelters built by Halifax Mutual Aide and removing branches that may fall during the storm.
There are other reasons why some do not want to stay at the shelter overnight.
“They are not trustworthy in the shelter system. Or they have trauma related to the events that happened there, so they don’t feel safe there, “said Vicky Levack, spokesperson for the PADS Community Network.
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“Some have decided to stay and again those search and rescue teams on the ground will monitor those people throughout the night. We are not going to force those people to leave unless there is an immediate life and safety problem if the weather situation intensifies severely, ”Fleck said.
Peoples Park residents and volunteers have been working tirelessly to prepare for the storm by draping tarps over the tents and tying them with cinder blocks, steel dowels, and even pumpkins.
“The neighborhood and surrounding areas have been supportive by bringing in more tarps and steel pegs. The tent stakes are really necessary and we have received quite a bit so far, ”Griffin said.
Levack says she is concerned about those who choose to stay outdoors in their camps.
“I don’t want to be hyperbolic, but I think we’ll see a lot of people get hurt. Many people get sick and some may die, ”Levack said.
“So, you know, 150mm of rain is nothing to scoff at.”
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