Investigators remained on-site along Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek on Wednesday, Nov. 4. One officer was seen heading towards the scene in a white hazmat suit, following a large canopied transport truck. (Mandy Moraes photo)

Investigators remained on-site along Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek on Wednesday, Nov. 4. One officer was seen heading towards the scene in a white hazmat suit, following a large canopied transport truck. (Mandy Moraes photo)

3 dead bodies drawing eyes to the significant bush population west of Parksville

Official: ‘There are a lot of people living here, you just can’t see them’

After three dead bodies were found along Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek on Nov. 1, attention has been drawn to the number of people living in remote areas of the region.

A source told the PQB News she had called 9-1-1 on Nov. 1 at 6:10 a.m., to report what she had initially thought was a forest fire in the Whiskey Creek area. She had seen smoke while driving south along Highway 19, near the Little Qualicum bridge. RCMP have yet to confirm her 911 call.

In the most recent Point-in-Time Homeless Count 2018, presented by the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness, 42 people were identified as experiencing homelessness in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area. A total of 57 per cent of that count had been homeless for one year or more, while 43 per cent had been homeless for less than one year.

Auren Ruvinsky, co-ordinator of the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness, said “it’s important to keep in mind that these figures are only of people coming forward and identifying themselves.”

Regional District of Nanaimo Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) director Leanne Salter said “there are a lot of people living here, you just can’t see them. Lots of people living in the bush. And they span the area from under the overpass by the ramp, and all the way up.”

Salter said an estimate of 300 people experiencing homelessness along the Melrose Road area in Whiskey Creek seemed accurate.

READ MORE: Mobile forensic unit remains in Whiskey Creek following discovery of 3 dead bodies

“We have a lot of people living in RVs out there. That’s probably not as bad as people living rough with nothing.”

On Saturday night, Oct. 31, residents close to the gravel pit on Melrose Road said they had heard gunshots and several loud explosions that night, followed by the smell of burning plastic. Many dismissed the idea of foul play because it was Halloween night, and fireworks were rampant.

Salter stated that the RDN does not get complaints from the surrounding Whiskey Creek area about people “living it rough.” She believes that part of the reason there is a homeless community in that area is because they’re not being “pushed out,” which tends to happen in more populated areas.

The other part, she said, comes down to an over-arching health issue.

“If you’re a sick person and you need medical care, you need medical care. You don’t need to be put into a house with kind people with big hearts that care about you, but can’t take care of your medical issue because they’re not trained to do that.”

Her guess is that it’s cheaper to build housing for people experiencing homelessness, than it is to provide them with the medical help they need.

“And with COVID, its even more exacerbated. What little services, and they were minimal, that were in place prior to COVID, are not even available now.”

Cpl. Chris Manseau, RCMP division media relations officer, said there is nothing new to release regarding the bodies found, the gunshot victim or any potential suspects at large.

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Policequalicum beachRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton, standing at right, sits on steering committees of two organizations that are tackling the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. File photo
Courtenay councillor leads campaign to reduce building-sector GHG emissions

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton wants local governments to carry a little more… Continue reading

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Numerous Comox Valley projects get CERIP grants

Numerous Comox Valley projects have received grants through the Community Economic Recovery… Continue reading

Thrifty Foods. (Black Press file photo)
Thrifty Foods confirms staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in Courtenay

The company currently lists 12 stores within B.C. with confirmed cases

Comox Valley Schools’ distance learning program, Navigate (NIDES), which saw some large gains in enrolment this year, could see a return to normal numbers come September. Image, screenshot
Comox Valley Schools expects enrolment drop come fall

Decline projected online, as more students return to ‘bricks-and-mortar’ classes

Cumberland will be looking to a parcel tax to cover debt for its new water system. File photo
Cumberland plans for parcel tax to cover water debt

Parcel tax review panel would take place March 22, if necessary

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read