Illegally parked mobile homes draw concern, police response in Port Lands

·3 min read
Police seized multiple bicycles and e-bikes from this trailer on Logan Avenue Wednesday afternoon. (Submitted by Brendan Dee - image credit)
Police seized multiple bicycles and e-bikes from this trailer on Logan Avenue Wednesday afternoon. (Submitted by Brendan Dee - image credit)

A makeshift trailer park in the Port Lands that has expanded during the pandemic is at the centre of complaints from people who live and work in the area noticing an increase in thefts, vandalism and illegal dumping.

"There's more trailers brought in that never move," said Glenn Harrington, a furniture maker who operates a workshop nearby.

For months, Harrington has placed calls to 311, Toronto police and his Toronto-Danforth councillor about a growing pile of bicycles, e-bikes and lawnmowers on Logan Avenue and said he's left feeling that "it's nobody's job" to take any enforcement action.

"I know in certain parts of the city, this wouldn't last long," said Harrington.

Keith Burgess/CBC News
Keith Burgess/CBC News

The campers and mobile homes are parked illegally on Bouchette Street and Logan Avenue, between Lake Shore Boulevard East and Commissioners Street, adjacent to McCleary Park and a Toronto transfer station.

Some are also parked on Basin Street, which councillor Paula Fletcher said houses one man who has lived in the spot for two decades.

Some of the campers have flat tires, most have cardboard-covered windows and handwritten signs on the vehicle telling officials not to tow them away.

Keith Burgess/CBC News
Keith Burgess/CBC News

"People have parked here and had their little campers here for decades. It's not something that's new, I think there's just more because of the pandemic," Fletcher told CBC News.

"So people have just been able to stay here on their own but there has to be a certain standard no matter where you park, where you are."

Harrington said he would like to see people connected with housing support because of their living situation.

"If the mayor says the city park isn't safe, then living beside a city transfer station — which is a nice word for a garbage dump — shouldn't be safe either," he said.

Suspected stolen items seized by police

Police and the city cleared four homeless encampments at three parks this summer.

Toronto's ombudsman is currently investigating how the city cleared those encampments, after complaints were raised about how the city and police acted.

On Wednesday, Toronto police arrested one man and removed about two dozen bicycles and e-bikes from under a tarp in front of one of the illegally parked mobile homes on Logan Ave.

They did not respond to questions on the issue.

In an email statement, the city said it is aware there are a number of illegally parked vehicles in the area and last Friday, city staff removed debris on a section of Logan Avenue and Commissioners Street.

"The city cannot, of course, force people to come inside and avail themselves of these services, but living in an encampment in a city park or right-of-way is unsafe and illegal," the statement said.

CBC News
CBC News

Fletcher said she's now trying to figure out what to do with vehicles abandoned on city streets in the area, but said she would not be forcing occupied vehicles to move.

"I'm fine with that while we're still in the pandemic."

Fletcher said that the priority for the city remains housing people living in tents in parks.

"I'm not in the business of driving people out to sleep in tents."

The Port Lands area is currently undergoing a billion dollar revitalization project to improve flood protection along the city's waterfront, first announced in 2017.

Fletcher said that project has created displacement for people that have been using the area to park fleet vehicles and for some who have parked mobile homes to live in.

"This is the nature of the Port Lands at the moment," said Fletcher.

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