One person shares their story from inside the Cobourg encampment as events unfold

Victoria Bailey Chris Kneilands

Victoria Bailey and Chris Kneilands live in an encampment of unsheltered people at 600 Willliam Street.

The show:

The full interview with bonus material:

Earlier this week, a group of people encamped at 600 William Street were removed from the site. County officials used the Trespass to Property Act to give 24-hours notice before a private security firm and the Cobourg Police would take action to clear the property. The site is owned by the county and houses offices for economic development, tourism and is a hub for ambulance services. County politicians approved the removal plan at a special meeting on September 5.

Before any of this took place, two people intimately involved with the encampment provided their side of events. Virginia Bailey is familiar to many who have followed the story of the encampment from its formation at the West Beach in Cobourg to William Street. In this interview, she will tell her story about how the encampment started and how she got to this point. She will also reveal other aspects of this story that are not often, if ever, told.

Originally aired: September 8, 2023

Notice posted at Brookside encampment

Notice posted at Brookside encampment September 8, 2023

UPDATE (September 9, 2023) – In an interview just before publishing, Virginia Bailey said the group is staying at the former Brookside Youth Detention Centre property.

People went from 600 William Street to the Brookside property after being removed by the county on Wednesday. During the move, Bailey said several people decided to accept assistance from support workers and left the encampment.

A notice was stapled to a tree on Friday evening, telling the people encamped at Brookside there that they had to move. Some went to Victoria Park, on King Street, in Cobourg, while others remained.

Cobourg bylaw enforcement officers were at Victoria Park Saturday morning. Bailey said the group was setting up a protest to create a public debate with passersby, and it was not part of the encampment. Tents were removed as of the time of publication.


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