On January 2nd, a fire that began in the makeshift structure quickly spread and destroyed the washroom building at Woodland Park on Barton Street East between Wentworth Street North and Sanford Avenue North.

Hamilton Fire responded within seconds – HFD Station 6 is at the park – and rescued two people inside the washroom building.

Images of the intense fire were posted to social media platforms.

The following day, Ward 3 Councillor Nrinder Nann posted “My office raised concerns about the structure against the washroom facility since Fall with encampment protocol and response staff due to safety concerns expressed by residents. The structure has been out of compliance with the encampment protocol and my office was informed that enforcement had been transferred to Hamilton Police Services (HPS) in October.”

Clr Nann said on January 17, there will be a public update regarding the cost of repairing the washrooms at the January 24 Council meeting.

The fire has resulted in political fallout, with all sides of the encampment debate pointing to the state of encampments as a failure, be that a failure to create sanctioned encampment sites, failure to enforce the present encampment protocol, or failure by allowing any encampments.

In the end, the present status quo will prevail.

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Published: January 17, 2024
Last edited: January 17, 2024
Author: Joey Coleman
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