City changes course, now homeless encampment in Sudbury won't be cleared for Remembrance Day ceremony

A legion president in Sudbury said Tuesday the city has now told her the Remembrance Day ceremony in Memorial Park will go ahead, but in a shared space with homeless people living there.

And the encampments will not be dismantled.

“I do think there is some scrambling going on within the city,” said Jennifer Huard, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 564.

"Late yesterday afternoon, I did receive a call indicating that they would be moving the encampment away from the cenotaph area and towards the back of the park, and of course I was satisfied with that."

The city said Monday it conducted a health and safety audit in Memorial Park and that the health safety of all residents is a top priority.

But that doesn't mean people living in the encampment will be forcibly removed or displaced.

“Unfortunately there was miscommunication with all parties. There is no enforcement going on in the encampment,” said Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc.

The city said it’s working to have meaningful discussions with people living in the park.

“If they want to move locations, we as staff and the agencies are working with them to relocate them either to the back of Memorial Park or another location of their desire," said Leduc. "We are offering them alternative shelter that is available.”

But he said some people in the encampment have no interest in moving.

“Unfortunately we do have some individuals that are refusing any kind of shelter they are refusing services completely," Leduc said.

"So it’s very challenging for our staff and for the agencies to get them to cooperate. But I think over time we will build that trust."

The Legion said it remains hopeful the situation can be resolved and the area in and around the cenotaph will be able to accommodate the outdoor Remembrance Day ceremony Nov. 11.