Windsor City Councillor planning action on fires in South Walkerville park

Newly-elected Windsor Ward 4 Councilor Mark McKenzie hopes to have a plan soon to deal with ongoing fires in Memorial Park.

McKenzie first raised the issue while campaigning for his spot on the city council. Since then, he’s met to explore options with the city’s administrative staff. On Monday, he’ll meet with them again to raise the possibility of stepping up police patrols in the area.

“If anything, they’ve actually escalated over the past week or two,” he said. “There were a couple of fires over the weekend. One of them was pretty large. Mid-last week, the fire department had to be called, and a decent-sized area was burned.”

Neighbors suspect homeless people are starting the fires to stay warm. McKenzie said many of them are taking action on their own.

“They are kind of walking around the park at certain hours. They’re taking shifts,” he said. “Which is good, but at the same time, you don’t want vigilante justice.”

McKenzie said one group of residents confronted a man they suspected of setting the fires, but he ran away before police arrived.

“We don’t want to see this get out of control,” he added. “We don’t want to lose that naturalized area, and we don’t want to see anybody hurt.”

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