Site of Kitchener homeless encampment slated for redevelopment: Region of Waterloo
People living at a tent encampment in downtown Kitchener are facing an uncertain future.
The Region of Waterloo says it plans to develop the site in the coming months, meaning current residents will likely have to find a new place to stay.
The growing encampment at the corner of Victoria Street and Weber Street sprang up a few months. As of Friday it was home to over 30 tents.
“We all take care of each other,” said Cali Williams, who has been living at the site for several weeks.
“I don’t think they have the right to kick us out of here.”
But the property, owned by the region is set to be redeveloped as part of a new transit hub.
No one from the region was available for an interview on Monday.
But in a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson for the region said the land “will be used to manage the development of the station over the next several years.”
The spokesperson said the region did not have a firm timeline for when construction will begin but parts of the project could start as early as this fall. More information will be available on Wednesday as part of a council report, the spokesperson said.
“In the interim, we will continue to focus on how we can support people experiencing unsheltered homelessness across our community. We are working towards solutions that balance the needs of the all residents, including people in the encampment. Our first and immediate priority is to assist individuals to access safer, sustainable and healthier alternatives,” the statement said.
The owner of a bakery located in the plaza neighbouring the encampment said it’s had a negative impact on business.
“Some customers [don’t] feel safe coming in to the area,” said Cake Box owner Jessica Harrison.
Harrison hopes the region helps people at the encampment find a new place to live.
“As a community we do have a responsibility to help them and provide them with the services they need to make that move,” Harrison said.