Complaints about a homeless camp at the end of Quinsam Road were discussed at the August 17th Campbell River city council meeting. The number of tents has expanded to the point they are now visible from the road. RCMP now respond to calls from the area on a regular basis. Canada Post notified residents that it considers the area ‘unsafe’ and will no longer deliver to their mail boxes.
Time to deal with the situation
“I realize that it is a difficult time in our society, however ,,, I do believe that when an issue escalates as it has, residents no longer feel safe, complaints have been made – and federal employees of Canada Post will no longer deliver to the area – it is time that our elected officials take the situation as seriously, and deal with it,” wrote one resident.
It is crown land
Councillor Michelle Babchuk explained, “I think staff has been very clear to us that we do not have a lot of jurisdiction over this area because it is crown land. Although we do have the ability to put up barricades or what not, it is not going to change anything until we have the ability or buy in from the province to help us with moving this new encampment along.”
City Manager Deborah Sargent informed council that the crown will not remove the occupants of this camp unless there is a place for them to go.
The city’s actions
Babchuk moved that the city will seek a meeting with local MLA Claire Trevana and also write to the province. This motion carried.
Councillor Ron Kerr suggested that some of the problems they are experiencing in the downtown area may be linked to the Quinsam camp. He suggested council needs a staff report to bring them up to date on the situation, what the city can do and what it cannot do. This motion also carried.
Four neighbourhood complaints were received into correspondence.
” … I wanted to also share my concern for the growing homeless camp in the old Shooting Range on Quinsam Road. My family is not feeling safe with this growing camp, especially since we do not see any plans to deal with it. We see Police needing to come into the area, however they seem to be limited on what they can do with the encampment. We also see an increase in dumping of shopping carts along Quinsam Road, can we have the responsible stores be advised to pickup carts? …”
Excerpt from another letter:
“ … This camp is not far from our neighbourhood. I am in a constant state unease every time I leave my home due to the goings on at the camp as well as what happens outside the camp. It has become a regular occurrence to witness and to dodge what I would call drug activity along the road since the start of this camp. I have had to stop my vehicle more than once to assist or to avoid hitting someone so out of their minds, literally laying in the middle of the road. I have had to re-route my morning walks so as not to walk past the camp as I am in fear for my safety.”
“My 13-year-old granddaughter can no longer get the bus and have it drop her off on Quinsam Rd and walk the rest of the way to my house due to her safety. We can no longer receive our mail at our local mail box as the post office will no l longer deliver due to their safety concerns. I now have to drive to town to collect it. Not to mention the garbage and endless shopping carts that are now littering our street. I understand homelessness, I do, and have empathy for the people involved.”