Peterborough County council to vote on bylaw to remove tenting in Victoria Park

Peterborough County council will review and vote on a report to update its parks and facilities bylaw on Wednesday.

The vote will come two days after Peterborough city council meets to vote to update its own parks bylaw.

Peterborough to update parks bylaw in wake of tent city

The County report recommends passing the bylaw, which is in part reaction to the number of individual tenting on Victoria Park in Peterborough, a park owned by the county. Since July 1 more than 40 individuals have been at encampments throughout the city following the closure of the Warming Room homeless shelter after its lease wasn’t renewed at the Murray Street Baptist Church.

“Recent events in Victoria Park underscore the importance of a stand-alone municipal by-law to more clearly establish rules for the shared public use and enjoyment of the County parks and other open spaces, and for the protection of the natural environment,” the report to county council states.

The discussion on the update bylaw will come after the submission of a petition from local citizen Mike Fischinit. An online petition with more than 1,000 signatures is asking that the so-called “tent city” in Victoria Park be removed. Fischinit tells Global News Peterborough he will not be in attendance for the council meeting.

Tide may be turning on tent city in Peterborough

The county’s proposed bylaw for parks and facilities have a number of similarities to the proposed updates for the City of Peterborough’s bylaw. Most notably, parks close from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. and people are only permitting to traverse through them. The city and county say most lights in public parks are normally scheduled to automatically turn off at 11 p.m. Provisions for park use during those hours must be approved by a manager.

Like the city’s proposal, the County CAO can permit temporary structures, huts or tents in a park without a permit if they are satisfied that the “number of locally available shelter beds is less than the number of individuals in need of shelter.”

The county’s proposed update bylaw can be found online. County council’s meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. at the County court house.

***An earlier version of this story stated Mike Fischinit would be at the meeting. He has stated he will not be in attendance.

WATCH: New bylaws being drafted in Peterborough to deal with parks and open spaces

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