NEWS

Occupy Toronto Park Repairs Could Cost $60K

12/01/2011 01:18 EST | Updated 01/31/2012 05:12 EST
AP

The cost to repair St. James Park, the site of the five-week long Occupy Toronto encampment, could reach as high as $60,000, the chair of the city's parks and environment committee said Thursday.

Norm Kelly, councillor for Scarborough Agincourt, says that amount of money would be required to resod the lawn, a process that would take four weeks.

The city could instead reseed the area for $20,000, although that option would require eight and 10 weeks.

Regardless, large portions of the park will need to be fenced off to protect the affected area, Kelly said in a release.

Much of the grass in St. James Park had been trampled and the ground had largely turned to mud.

According to the release, the city will be working with neighbourhood groups and local councillor Pam McConnell to "reduce the impact of the remediation process on the enjoyment of the park."

Toronto is also appealing for financial contributions from individuals and groups.

Occupy Toronto offered $10K

The Occupy Toronto encampment began on Oct. 15 and at one time held as many as 300 tents.

Those numbers had dwindled considerably by Nov. 23, when 100 police officers, 100 municipal staff and 30 vehicles were employed to remove structures from the area, after a judge upheld a city eviction order.

The day-long operation was largely peaceful and only a handful were arrested, most of whom were released and fined for trespassing.

At that time, Coun. McConnell said Occupy Toronto had offered $10,000 to repair the park.

The Occupy movement in Canada was spawned by protesters on Wall Street, although camps around the world have been slowly dismantled by officials. The movement — which held an international day of protest Oct. 15 — generally protests disparity between the rich and poor, although there are no established leaders or concrete demands.