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Dawson Park encampment dismantled Tuesday

A "high-risk" encampment was cleared on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024. (Evan Klippenstein/CTV News Edmonton) A "high-risk" encampment was cleared on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024. (Evan Klippenstein/CTV News Edmonton)

The Dawson Park encampment was cleared on Tuesday as Edmonton officials aim to shut down all eight "high-risk" encampments that were the subject of an injunction last month.

Tents were removed from Dawson Park Tuesday morning, days after the first two high-risk encampments were removed.

"It's very sad and depressing to see somebody essentially packing up their entire life and trying to consolidate that into something so small," Jordan Morgan, a volunteer with Water Warriors, told CTV News Edmonton at one of the encampments.

Police officers and city officials told residents they had a couple of hours to leave when they began to clean up, said Bradley Lafortune, Public Interest Alberta's executive director.

"To me, this is social violence," Lafortune said.

"We're hearing that people don't want to go to the shelter spaces in this city…There's a lot of folks who say they don't feel safe there. It's not culturally appropriate. And beyond that, there's a lot of cases of assault. There's a lot of bedbugs. There's lice, there's a lot of basically, you know, unhealthy living situations in shelters."

Catlin Watson, a resident of the Dawson Park encampment, doesn't know where he'll go yet.

Despite that, he said officials had been fair with him and that he had no complaints.

“It doesn’t really matter that we have to move. It’s just a matter of expressing your gratitude; having people help clean up our mess is a real privilege," Watson said.

Edmonton has more than 1,400 shelter spaces and about 300 more are coming in the near future, a provincial spokesperson said in a statement.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Marek Tkach Top Stories

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