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Don’t look now, but campers and tents have taken over another city park.

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This time it’s Dufferin Grove Park’s turn.

It seems that some people are uncomfortable staying in an all-expenses-paid four-star hotel and prefer the real estate experience across from the Dufferin Mall.

“It’s not safe in a hotel,” a squatter known as Dreddz explained Friday. “I’m never going to a hotel.”

The problem is, he can’t stay in this park or any other for the next year after receiving what he calls an eviction and burglary notice from the city of Toronto.

“I feel like they are pointing at me,” he said. “They are doing it to me and to another boy because we are leaders.”

(L) Dreaddz, who was banished from Dufferin Grove Park and issued a notice from the city of Toronto not to appear in the park for a year, and Sima Atri, a social justice attorney and co-director of the Community Justice Collective, are seen here at Dufferin Grove Park on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.
(L) Dreaddz, who was banished from Dufferin Grove Park and issued a notice from the city of Toronto not to appear in the park for a year, and Sima Atri, a social justice attorney and co-director of the Community Justice Collective, are seen here at Dufferin Grove Park on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. Photo by Jack Boland /Toronto Sun / Postmedia Network

The city makes no effort to apologize for this.

“As a result of serious safety concerns, two individuals, one from Randy Padmore Park, one from Dufferin Grove Park, received violation notification letters for engaging in threatening and disruptive behavior, as well as harassment of city personnel and employees. from partner agencies, ”Toronto spokesmen Brad Ross and Anthony Toderian said in a statement sent to me and Sun photographer Jack Boland.

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So this is definitely a groundbreaking situation where the city and the people in the park are at odds.

Dreddz, a well-spoken person who has been seen demonstrating during the evictions from camps in Trinity Bellwoods, Alexandra Park and Lamport Stadium, speaks of poverty, lack of investment in the city and a society without compassion.

He is a nice person who needs the help of society, but his perspective on what is done and what is not done does not correspond to reality.

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The city has invested millions of dollars in helping the homeless, including taking them off the streets and into temporary hotel shelters as they try to find more permanent abodes for them. Dozens of services are offered to help and Toronto offers endless care for those in need through volunteering and fundraising.

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Even in these camping areas where the inhabitants are supposedly doing it wrong, six pizzas, a box of water and even supplies were delivered from a rented moving truck, including new sofas, chairs and mattresses for a more comfortable night’s sleep. There are about 30 tents set up there now.

Meanwhile, all the complaints among the occupants about how difficult it is for people staying at the Novotel have not garnered much sympathy from the working class who could only dream of staying in such a posh place. A simple “thank you” to the city of Toronto and its contributors would probably do better.

That said, the city is always in need of new ideas and you should sit down regularly with the likes of Dreddz to start building trust.

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I met the perfect person who I think could facilitate this. She is very wise and not only offered complaints, but also practical and smart solutions. Her name is Sima Atri, a Harvard-trained attorney for the Community Justice Collective who made the excellent point that the temporary hotel stay program doesn’t work for some who aren’t used to the structure.

She believes that a better method may be to move people directly from a park to permanent housing.

Even Dreddz agreed, albeit reluctantly, with this attorney.

I felt like there was some movement there and I would encourage everyone to talk rather than fight. It is better to come up with a plan and give it a try rather than looking for a confrontation. The city of Toronto is not opposed to new ideas and I think Atri has the right understanding of what will and will not work.

No matter how you go, you can’t forget that those city parks and playgrounds are for families and not for extreme drug use, loitering, and camping.

But you wouldn’t know it by walking through a new, unofficial campground known as Dufferin Grove Park these days.

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