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City cancels plans to provide camping location for homeless

The City of Campbell River is cancelling plans of providing a temporary campsite for the homeless.

The site on the former BMX track Homewood Road would have provided up to 25 appropriately-distanced camping sites.

The city is now exploring an alternative option.

 “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.”

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 The City is 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.

Adams added that 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.” 

As for the previous site, Sargent said it’s city-owned land that was being cleared for the camp: “We do have some costs involved. I think there’s a day of heavy equipment work on the site that we’ll be responsible for. That’s a reasonable expense for the city. We own the property, the property has some drainage issues. Because it’s a previous BMX site, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have it levelled up a bit.”

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 The city says it will continue to enforce municipal bylaws, including prohibiting public nuisance and camping in environmentally-sensitive areas.

Anyone wanting to report concerns are encouraged to contact the RCMP or the City’s bylaw enforcement department.

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