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Eighth ‘High-Risk’ Homeless Camp Cleaned Rather Than Cleared; Edmonton Police Reveal Cache of Weapons Seized from Dawson Park Camp

An eighth homeless encampment in Edmonton’s core, located near Rowland Road at 95 Street, that the city and its police service deem high risk was left standing on Tuesday, with the city opting to clean the site instead.

In a news release, the city said it adjusted course, “given the number of third parties onsite.”

The city provided a warming centre in the form of a parked city bus to offer residents some relief from the elements, following an Alberta Clipper snowstorm, and rapidly plummeting temperatures due to Artic air billowing South across the Prairies.

“Vacant structures and excessive debris were removed so that some of the onsite health and safety risks were reduced,” the new release said.

Meanwhile, Edmonton Police Service [EPS] put on display a cache of weaponry on Tuesday afternoon that was seized from an encampment at Dawson Park, during a recent clear-out of that encampment.

The Dawson Park find produced dozens of knives, machetes, swords, BB guns, axes and a collapsable baton. Police say they also dismantled booby traps.

To date, crews removed 200 propane tanks and 2000 needles in the course of dismantling 120 structures that had been home to 76 people from the first seven encampments, per CTV News, which reports many of these sites now host new encampments.

Separately, at a court appeal Tuesday, the Coalition for Justice and Human Rights [CJHR] argued the city and its police service breached a court injunction by failing to ensure adequate shelter space is available for the people displaced by camp removals.

Edmonton Journal reports Justice Kent Davidson deferred a decision until Wednesday or Thursday, the latter of which is the same day the original injunction that he granted on December 18 – clearing a path for the city to dismantle the high-risk encampments – expires.

Meanwhile, lawyers for CJHR will appear in court Thursday launching a lawsuit against Edmonton over the city’s handling of the encampment removals.