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Homeless situation worsening in downtown Campbell River

Mayor Andy Adams says he’s hearing from local businesses that the ongoing homelessness problem in downtown Campbell River has “escalated to a different level.”

Adams shared his views Tuesday at a committee of council meeting during a verbal report on “downtown disturbances.”

The mayor talked with the general managers of the Comfort Inn and Berwick by the Sea (Berwick Homes) and the situation they’re facing is “quite disturbing.”

Adams says the retirement home’s $40 million investment in Campbell River is having “significant issues” because the home is unable to put people on the ground floor because tenants are fearful with loiterers shooting up, drinking, defecating and trying to break into the facility.

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The mayor says the situation is being “escalated” and has been referred to the city manager and bylaw department for next steps.

Adams also noted that as of Tuesday morning there was another tent set up in Roberts’ Reach Park as well as “belongings and material” in the longhouse in the Ostler Park. He believed security was taking care of the situation at Ostler Park.

Adams noted this was an “area of concern” for both mariners wanting to use their boats at Discovery Harbour Marina as well as parents taking their kids to the playground.

The mayor says the homeless situation will be an “essential” discussion at the Union of BC Municipalities conference in Whistler next week.

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Coun. Rob Kerr noted the problem is “not new” and businesses have “basically given up” because the city had not addressed the “blight on the downtown.”

“Acknowledging the fact that it’s happening is not the answer. We have to do a lot more,” Kerr said.

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