Occupiers at St. James’ Park behaving responsibly

Query to the city’s 311 phone line brings this reply below

By Toronto 311’s operator Ada –

The City has not given permission for these protesters to occupy the park, set up tents, or engage in any other activities on the site. There is no applicable permit category for this type of activity.

The Occupy Toronto protest is part of a worldwide network of similar occupations, and unfortunately it’s difficult to predict how long the protest will continue. Any enforcement of City bylaws have to be balanced by broader concerns, such as consideration for public safety and the right of protesters to free speech and assembly. It is much preferable for the protesters to occupy a public park than blocking streets, for example.

For now, we continue to monitor the park closely. Parks, Forestry & Recreation is working with the Toronto Police Service and other City divisions to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

The City has received some complaints from residents surrounding the park with concerns about accessing the park expressed by people including dog walkers and noise.

The park is public. For many years, the City has held Remembrance Day services at several locations that do not include St James Park. Apart from minimal overtime incurred by Solid Waste the first weekend (Oct 15/16) there have been no incremental costs related to Occupy Toronto for City divisions. You would have to contact Toronto Police directly about any costs they have incurred. There is no applicable permit category for this type of activity.

Collectively, we are focused on balancing public safety and peaceful protest. Staff continue to monitor and assess on an ongoing basis.

Solid Waste is responsible for collecting garbage and recycling in all Toronto parks. One worker has been going in to St. James Park once a day to collect garbage and recycling from bins/baskets. Extra bins to accommodate waste and organic collection containers have been placed in the park. Occupy Toronto seems to be doing a good job of cleaning up and using the bins/ baskets.

Daniel Hanesquand, a local resident living near the park, inquired of Toronto (phone number) 311 about the status of the Occupy Toronto bunch.