From left: Shady Maples mobile home park residents (implementing social distancing) Courtney Michl (manager), Sheila Keats, Pam Fry and Dave Fry were upset with the City of Campbell River’s plan to create a campsite for homeless people on a vacant lot near the park. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror

Island city cancels plan for homeless camp; exploring alternative option

The plan heard strong objection from neighbouring residents and businesses

The City of Campbell River has cancelled plans to establish a campsite for people experiencing homelessness in the city and will instead explore an alternative option to support people experiencing homelessness in Campbell River.

“With minimizing the threat of this virus as our top priority, we continue to review options and opportunities to be as responsive as possible,” says Mayor Andy Adams. “This is a quickly evolving and constantly changing situation, and council were advised as of late yesterday afternoon that there is a promising alternative that could better address public health and security needs. After thorough deliberation at last night’s meeting, council has decided to explore another option that is more cost-effective and offers greater opportunity for meeting objectives to support the most vulnerable members of our community.”

RELATED: Campbell River converting unused BMX track into temporary homeless campsite

The city is actively working to confirm details and timing.

“Our goal is to provide more information and support for people experiencing homelessness as quickly as possible, but discussions are preliminary right now, and a number of details are yet to be confirmed. As soon as more information is available, we will share that with the community,” says city manager Deborah Sargent.

The city announced on May 15 that it was going to convert the Homewood Road lot that had been cleared and developed years ago as a BMX track but which was never used. The city was moving ahead with this plan as early as Monday when equipment began clearing the lot.

Residents of a nearby mobile home park and adjacent businesses had written to council strongly objecting to the plan.

The owner of the mobile home park and some of the tenants have written to the city raising their concerns.

“Over the long weekend rumours began circulating within the neighbourhood (Campbellton area) of a campsite to be erected by the city for the homeless, on the unused BMX land on Homewood Road,” Shady Maples resident Sheila Keats said in a letter to the Campbell River Mirror. She added it was “a great shock and upset to the neighbourhood, as it turned out these rumours [were] indeed a reality.

“Approximately 125 seniors living across the street from the proposed site are anxious. This news blindsided everyone. We were not consulted. Meetings were not held.”

Matthew Li, owner of Shady Maples Ventures Ltd., said in a letter to city council that his tenants’ “safety concerns have been expressed directly to you through letters from some of our residents and will be augmented by a petition which is now being circulated to gather names and concerns.”

But he also says, “during COVID-19 we have seen the provincial government work with the cities of Vancouver, Victoria, and Nanaimo to eliminate the tent cities in those communities and move the affected homeless to available hotel/motel accommodation. How does the City of Campbell River justify going in the opposite direction and creating a tent city? Is there no available space at the city’s hotels and motels, which will all be suffering lost business due to COVID-19? Were these issues canvassed by staff in formulating a recommendation to Council?”

The situation is a rapidly-changing one, the mayor said.

“This change of plans demonstrates the city’s responsiveness in a fast-changing situation, and the power of partnership to pull together and continue to pursue options that address community concerns and support members of our vulnerable population,” the Mayor adds.

The city will continue to enforce municipal bylaws, including prohibiting public nuisance and camping in environmentally-sensitive areas. People wishing to report concerns are encouraged to contact the RCMP or the City’s bylaw enforcement department.


@AlstrT
editor@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Campbell RiverCoronavirusHomelessness

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

Just Posted

A photo of the missing mushroom pickers from the Lil’Wat Nation near Pemberton: River Leo (left) and dad Peter Oleski. Facebook photo/Sea to Sky Road Conditions page
Two Comox Valley-based search organizations assisting in missing Pemberton mushroom pickers

Two members from the Lil’Wat Nation were last seen Oct. 22

Students at Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary kicked off the Everybody Deserves A Smile (EDAS) campaign in 2019. Scott Stanfield photo
Everybody Deserves a Smile campaign adapts to COVID-19 challenges

“We didn’t want to lose our heartfelt hands-on approach.”

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at HMCS Quadra in Comox

HMCS Quadra is serving as the winter training base for the Canadian… Continue reading

Courtenay residents will have a substantial schedule change for curbside trash collection beginning in January 2021. (Ben Lypka/Black Press file)
Courtenay moving to a zone system for curbside trash collection

New system means collection days will change with every statutory holiday

A jubilant Ronna-Rae Leonard salutes the crowd at her victory party at the Avalanche Bar & Grill. (photo by Scott Stanfield)
UPDATE: Leonard declared early winner for Courtenay-Comox

NDP incumbent held similar margin of lead throughout the evening

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Freighter drags anchor towards Boulder Point Oct. 22. It came within 730 metres of the shore, according to maps from the Port of Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages along the South Coast

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Most Read