11/02/2011 05:55 EDT | Updated 01/02/2012 05:12 EST

Mayor Promises To Deal With Occupy Toronto Protest


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is expected to meet with city officials this week to look for a peaceful way to end the Occupy Toronto protest at St. James Park.

Hundreds of tents - including three $20,000 yurts paid for by a local union - dot the park at the corner of Church Street and King Street East.

Occupy Toronto, now in its 19th day, has morphed into a makeshift community complete with a library, food supplies and about two dozen portable toilets.

Bryan Sutherland, 27, has been living in the park for the past two weeks. He says he plans to stay through the winter.

"My plan is to stay as long as it's possible," said Sutherland. "Most of us are trying to work with the community so we're a non-invasive occupation." But area business owners are not pleased and have complained to city hall.

"They're still residing in that park against the law," said Patrick McMurray who owns a restaurant across the street from the park.

He says he's losing business because customers are afraid to come downtown.

In response to his concerns, McMurray received an email this week from Ford saying, "When it is determined that we no longer have a peaceful protest, but rather an occupation of the park, we will consider options to remove the individuals who are camping in the park."

Ford said Tuesday that he's working to resolve the issue.

“We're working on a plan with staff. We're gonna have a concrete answer in a few days,” he said.