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City considering police assistance to remove unhoused people from Meagher Park

Aug 3, 2022 | 2:56 PM

Meagher Park, also known as People's Park. (SOURCE: Calista Hill with Halifax Mutual Aid)

Police intervention isn’t off the table to remove people still living in Meagher Park – also known as People’s Park. 

Halifax Regional Council held a special meeting Tuesday with only one agenda item: homelessness. 

The discussion was dominated by Meagher Park, where five people are still living, despite a notice to leave by July 17 being issued in early July. 

“If we move into – which I believe we have to – resolving this situation at this particular park with police engagement, it’s not going to be pretty,” said Coun. Becky Kent. 

Special Projects Manager Max Chauvin laid out the situation in the west-end park in a presentation to council. 

There are growing concerns about the part with neighbours, who Chauvin said “have listened to people being beaten”. There’s also concerns for the health of those living there, including a rat infestation, stray needles, and human feces, he said. 

Approximately five people who remain in the park are unwilling to relocate, he says. Some are returning after having previously relocated and others newly moved in.  

“The situation at Meagher Park cannot continue. It’s gone on too long and it’s deteriorating,” Coun. Sam Austin said. 

It was also noted during the presentation that the park provides a sense of community, a central location and public visibility. 

As part of the reasoning for closing the park, Chauvin also cited “increasing conflict between the advocacy groups” that operate there. Halifax Mutual Aid, Permanent, Accessible, Dignified and Safer Housing (PADS), and more recently, Nova Scotians United and the Freedom Convoy, are all active in the park.

Chauvin said there’s been reports of racial slurs and homophobic slurs used, making residents and service providers feel unsafe in the area.

Deputy Mayor Pamela Lovelace and several councilors cited concerns that service providers are using the people in Meagher Park as “pawns” to “advance their own agendas.”

“I’m not going to be very popular on social media for saying this, but let’s face it, folks. These agents who are suggesting to us, and suggesting every day on the Twitterverse and every day in the public that they’re championing for these folks who are homeless, they are there for their own agenda,” said Kent.

Coun. Lisa Blackburn agreed, saying activist groups “who simply don’t give a hoot about our unhoused neighbours” have “changed the water on the beans” for her. 

“Activist groups on opposite sides of the spectrum, each fighting for their rights to occupy the park. Well, enough; the park is closed. The conditions there are abysmal. We are one heavy rainstorm away from a cholera outbreak as far as I’m concerned.”

Coun. Sean Cleary also expressed concerns about the increasingly volatile climate in the park. 

“I don’t believe that most people who care about homeless people … want a fight with the police. Those who do will probably get their wish,” he said. 

Council didn’t give any direction to police to remove the unhoused from the park; no timeline was laid out on when they may resort to police action. 



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