Small homeless camp at Kinnaird Ravine cleared out by city

An encampment in central Edmonton has reappeared just days after the city dismantled it. As Laura Krause reports, critics are questioning what supports are available for those displaced.

A small, three-person homeless encampment near Kinnaird Ravine was cleared out by the city Friday.

It was the fifth camp deemed “high-risk” that was dismantled by the City of Edmonton in just over a week.

The camp was home to Ryan Peters and Tenille Threefingers, who were forced to pack up their belongings and leave. The couple has been experiencing homelessness together for 16 years.

“She’s got my back, I’ve got hers, and because of that we can be safe,” Peters told CityNews.

Per a court injunction, the city and Edmonton police must make sure there is enough shelter space to accommodate everyone before taking down an encampment, and the residents must be given notice.

As of Friday afternoon, the city says there were 160 spaces available throughout Edmonton’s shelter providers.

City workers clear out small homeless encampment at Kinnaird Ravine Jan. 5, 2023. (CityNews)

Peters says officers were indeed kind with them and guided them to the resources they needed.

“They were never rude, they were always polite,” he said. “They let us know when they were coming and were polite about it. There was no rudeness about it like we’ve experienced in the past.”

While it was hard to pick up and move, Peters says he understands why people want the encampments gone.

“There’s a lot of stuff that we see that we don’t like, and for that reason we try to do our best to not make a mess and try to not infringe on other people’s rights, because I do understand,” he said.

The city considers an encampment high risk if there is a risk of injury or death due to fire, drug use, gang violence, weapons, sanitation risk or criminal activity. Officials also consider the camp’s proximity to schools and playgrounds, and how long it has been in place.

“This is a city park, you should be able to take your kids here, and you don’t want a lot of drug paraphernalia or people using around your kids. I wouldn’t want that around my kids so that’s completely understandable,” Peters said.

“Living on the streets actually taught us to try to think about other people other than ourselves,” Threefingers added.

Tenille Threefingers and Ryan Peters have been homeless together for 16 years. (CityNews)

The City of Edmonton says there were three people living within six structures at the Kinnaird Ravine encampment. Seven truckloads (1,400 kg) of waste was removed, 30 needles, five shopping carts, and a propane tank, the city says.

“The REACH 24/7 Crisis Diversion Teams were on site to provide transport and support options,” the city said in a news release.

Peters and Threefingers confirmed they got off the street Friday and moved into a home.

But that isn’t the case for many. Two days after a camp near the Bissell Centre was dismantled, structures began reappearing. Residents told CityNews they had nowhere to go.

The Opposition NDP is calling on the UCP government to provide daily updates on their efforts to provide housing.

More encampment closures were planned for the weekend, with three camps deemed “high risk” still needing to come down.”

“The remaining sites will be reassessed and notifications provided to occupants and social agencies in accordance with the court orders,” according to the city.

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