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Judge rejects Montreal homeless camp injunction, site to be dismantled by June 15

A homeless camp is shown beneath an overpass in Montreal, Friday, April 14, 2023. A Quebec Superior Court judge won't extend an injunction to protect a downtown Montreal homeless encampment located under a busy highway, ruling the encampment must be dismantled by June 15 as planned. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL — A Quebec Superior Court judge has refused to extend an injunction protecting a homeless encampment under a busy Montreal highway, ruling the tent city must be dismantled by June 15 as planned.

A legal clinic had assisted the campers in obtaining a pair of injunctions earlier this year, buying more time to find housing solutions for the roughly 15 to 20 people who were living under the Ville Marie Expressway.

Many of the residents are vulnerable, and some have serious health issues.

Justice Pierre Nollet says while it's clear the expulsion poses a danger to the group, there are resources available that many don't want to use, and there's no guarantee the site would be cleared if the court agreed to an additional delay to mid-July.

He also noted in the ruling released today that the provincially owned land is not a public area like a park, and the tent city occupants do not have a right to be there.

A first eviction notice was issued in November, but the provincial Transport Department postponed its plans so it could reach a compromise with the residents before finally seeking an eviction at the end of March to begin repairs to the highway above.

Nollet ruled there was uncontradicted evidence that the repairs are badly needed, adding that the Montreal region has already witnessed "disastrous consequences" of not taking care of road infrastructure.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 6, 2023.

The Canadian Press