Local business owners concerned about squatters at the former site of the Allwood Estates Mobile Home Park have good reason to demand the property owner and city hall take action to better secure the land prior to its development.
The existence of tents abutting fences and neighbouring buildings is justifiably worrying for those concerned about fires starting among the many trees on the property and spreading to businesses.
The property crime endured by those enterprises should also not be accepted as unavoidable.
Onni Group, which owns the property, has an obligation to ensure that the activities taking place on their land are not harming, or risking harm, to their neighbours.
The form that takes is up to the company, but the present situation should not be allowed to continue, even if development is expected to begin soon.
If such action is not taken voluntarily, the city – which has been notified about the issues at the site – needs to step in.
The fact the uninvited campers are on private land means a suit brought against the city on behalf of the homeless occupying public property doesn’t apply to this case.
However, it does underscore key issues raised by both sides, in which the plaintiffs seek to overturn the city’s ban on camping on public land.
Homeless men and women do not have the right to appropriate whatever land they choose, and under conditions they dictate.
That said, this situation again clearly illustrates the need for housing options for the homeless so they are not simply moved from one unsuitable location to the next.
The absence of such options hurts both the homeless and property owners who must deal with unsanctioned encampments on and next to their land.