Body discovered as city and police dismantle 7th Edmonton homeless encampment

The City of Edmonton said the clean up of a homeless encampment deemed ‘high-risk’ was paused Sunday because a body was discovered at the site near 94 Street and 106 Avenue.

A spokesperson for the city said two people suffered burns and were transported to hospital after a fire at another homeless camp in the same neighbourhood on Sunday, and she notes the fires and explosions highlight the dangers of the camps as temperatures drop.

First responders were called in to attend to the deceased person and also clean up an unrelated propane tank explosion.

The camp that was cleared Sunday was the seventh that the city has dismantled in recent weeks in accordance with an interim court order, which was granted after city and a human rights group reached an agreement for eight camps that are considered a public safety risk to be taken down.

The interim order will last until Jan. 11, when court will hear an earlier injunction application from the Coalition for Justice and Human Rights, which has launched a lawsuit against the city over its policy of removing homeless camps.

During the encampment clean up, city crews dismantled 20 structures which housed about 15 people.

Six truckloads of waste were removed from the site plus one full large waste bin. Five shopping carts were collect and 30 needles.In a statement, the City of Edmonton said encampments may be assessed as high-risk based on whether “there is a serious risk of injury or death due to fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, drug use, gang violence, physical violence including weapons, public health and/or sanitation risks, environmental degradation and/or criminal activity. It is also assessed based on its proximity to local amenities including schools and playgrounds, the number of people and structures in the encampment, if the location has previously been an encampment site and how long it has been in place.”

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