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article imageOccupy Toronto encampment damages could cost as much as $25,000 Special

By Andrew Moran     Nov 9, 2011 in Politics
Toronto - It has been a month since Occupy Toronto protesters established an encampment site at St. James Park. There has been extensive damage to the grounds, and the City has said they will be creating a plan soon to deal with the occupiers.
One month ago, the Occupy movement began worldwide. Cities all over the world have been having their own Occupy protesters camp out in public parks. Although most of the encampments have been peaceful, cities across the globe are cracking down on these Occupy tent cities.
In Canada, police are beginning to evict the occupiers from their tents in London, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia. One woman, 23-year-old Ashlie Gough, passed away in the Vancouver protest. Meanwhile, one gentleman was rushed to the hospital after he suffered an apparent drug overdose at the Occupy Toronto camp.
All of this has led City of Toronto officials to examine the situation and devise a plan to properly deal with the 100 or so protesters. Mayor Rob Ford told reporters last week that he will be working on arrangements to end the encampment.
Toronto Senior Communications Advisor Margaret Dougherty told in an email that City staff “monitor and assess” the situation on a consistent basis to ensure the safety of the protesters and the maintenance of St. James Park.
“The protesters have not approached the City nor has the City given permission to use St. James Park for the type of activity that has been ongoing there since October 15,” said Dougherty. “Several City divisions including Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Public Health, Solid Waste, Fire Services and EMS and the Toronto Police are working together to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.”
An Occupy Toronto General Assembly at St. James Park
An Occupy Toronto General Assembly at St. James Park
Extensive damage has occurred at the park that sits right next to St. James Cathedral. It is estimated, according to Dougherty that turf restoration could cost upwards of $25,000. Unfortunately, the costs could nearly double.
Due to the upcoming cold weather, the Parks division winterizes the underground sprinkler system in parks all over the city. City workers have completed this process in each park, except for St. James due to lack of access because of tents and yurts.
“If the sprinkler system cannot be properly winterized before freezing weather arrives, the system could be damaged, incurring more unnecessary costs up to about $40,000,” explained Dougherty.
Occupy Toronto media relations officer, Anna Crooke, told the Toronto Star that everything they have done has been legal and organized and that they will be ready to fight any measures that will have them evicted.
Digital Journal has not received a response requesting a comment from Ward 40 Scarborough-Agincourt Councillor and Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee Norm Kelly.
More about Occupy Toronto, St James Park, Damages, margaret dougherty, norm kelly
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