For the third time, an encampment of homeless people have moved to a new location in Cobourg.
The story for some of the encampment members started when they were displaced from their home on Division Street in Cobourg on July 28 because of raw sewage in the basement.
After staying a number of days in Port Hope, people who used to live at the home started an encampment on the west beach in Cobourg that grew to approximately 20 people.
On August 23, the residents were evicted from the beach property and took up residence at 600 William Street in Cobourg where they were staying until September 6, 2023.
They were once again told they had to leave the property under the Trespass to Property Act.
So on September 6 and 7, most of the encampment members moved to the property of the former Brookside Youth Centre on King Street East.
Numerous tents have been set up in front of the security fence just to the west of the driveway entrance to the former facility.
Two painted signs are facing King Street for people to read.
The one sign says, “Open The Door To Housing For All” and the other says “We Need Housing for All.”
It didn’t take long for word to get around the community about the encampment at the former youth facility.
MPP David Piccini stated to Today’s Northumberland, “I’m aware that trespassing has taken place on Brookside property and that the most vulnerable in our community are getting manipulated and strategically moved around in Cobourg.
It’s not a coincidence this first happened in Cobourg, then county; and, now provincial property.
We have dedicated outreach workers and collaborative community partners doing very hard work, trying to assist. Shelter capacity and motel program space is available with wrap around supports for those in need. I encourage all those in need to access these services.
Our community is tired of the same people usurping everyone’s collective time; flagrantly dismissing bylaws; and, normalizing drug use. This makes a mockery of the hard work of so many dedicated social service and health care staff that are helping the vulnerable in our community.
The status quo is not working, and that’s why every ounce of our collective efforts needs to be put towards building affordable and accessible housing across our community.”
Cobourg Police Chief Paul VandeGraaf stated to Today’s Northumberland, “The Cobourg Police Service is aware of the non-sanctioned encampment currently situated at the old Brookside facility.
We have been contacted by many community members about this development. As stated many times, we will continue to assist those with the lawful authority in their efforts to ensure public safety for everyone.”
And Cobourg Collegiate Institute (CCI) Principal Jamie Patenall stated in a message to student’s parents:
“Just a short note to share that a number of parents have reached out to let us know about a newly established encampment this afternoon at the former Brookside Youth Centre on King Street.
We want to reassure our families that we are aware of the situation, and we have been in contact with local municipal partners at the Town of Cobourg.
We will continue to monitor this situation going forward and provide any further information and updates in the coming days.”
At the former encampment on William Street, 49-year-old Jack Barton Audenaert was the lone person who spent hours and hours cleaning up the encampment and separating what might be useful and garbage. Including a large amount of fresh food and vegetables that was left by encampment residents.
Nearby security watched Audenaert for several hours and even commented he did an “exceptional” job cleaning the area.