st. Brigid’s: Property owner pleased with eviction order

The owner of the church that a Freedom Convoy-affiliated group has been occupying for weeks says he is pleased that a judge sided with him and ordered the group’s eviction.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Sally Gomery granted an application on Friday by the owners of St. Brigid’s in Lowertown to evict The United People of Canada (TUPOC) from the property, where they had set up what they called an “embassy.” The group was served an eviction notice more than a month ago, but dug in its heels, claiming the order was “illegal.”

Patrick McDonald, sought the court order to enforce the group’s eviction, saying they failed to make $100,000 payments as part of a conditional sale of the church, owed $10,000 in rent and had broken heritage rules.

He told CTV News Friday night, as the group was packing up and leaving, that he was happy with the ruling.

“Delighted with the results”. It was a very good decision and hopefully everything comes to a resolution, effective today,” McDonald said.

Gomery also ruled that TUPOC must pay $53,000 in costs to the owners of the property within 30 days. William Komer, the group’s director, says TUPOC is planning to appeal the decision. Several members of the group could be seen packing up items Friday night.

McDonald said the occupation by TUPOC has been stressful.

“Sorry to the community down here that it’s been going on for such a period of time,” he said. “And my own family, obviously. It’s been a stressful time… We’d heard from some people in the TUPOC group that they’re going to stay here indefinitely… I’m glad that they’re packed up and gone.”

st. Brigid’s Church was conditionally sold to the TUPOC group on June 15. Citizens in Lowertown expressed concern that some members of the group were affiliated with the convoy protest that occupied downtown Ottawa for three weeks in February. McDonald said the reaction to the new prospective owners was out of the ordinary.

“Normally, when someone comes to purchase a place, you don’t have immediate reaction to who they are,” he said. “Things turned and I think what has happened… is some of the people I had originally introduced to disappeared off the scene—they were some of his business partners—and I think things went off the rail for him, as far as I can see.”

McDonald said Friday night that Komer hadn’t yet handed over the keys, but police told him that Komer was cooperating and removing his possessions from the property.

Ottawa police said in a statement to CTV News Ottawa that responding officers kept the peace at the scene as the occupants removed their belongings.

“When that was complete, the legal owner took possession of the property. There are no OPS officers at 310 St. Patrick Street today,” Sgt. Jason Brown said in an email.

–With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Jeremy Charron.

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