Writer Christie Stashyn is worried about the continued growth of a homeless camp on the banks of the Nicomekl in Langley City. She fears for residents’ safety, as well as for those living in the camp.

Letter: Resident’s concern grows over Nicomekl homeless camp

Editor: My concern lies with the growing homeless camp located in Nicomekl park on the west side of 208 Street, just south of Fraser Highway.

This camp has been steadily growing over the past couple of months.

Bylaw officers are supposed to ensure the tents are taken down each morning, however, this is not happening.

They’ve been allowed to accumulate a great amount of garbage and belongings and are living in the park rather than using it as a place to sleep (as I believe was the point in the Supreme Court’s ruling to allow the homeless to camp in parks overnight).

We, as neighbours, are concerned about the health issues surrounding this encampment, such as sanitation as well as where their drug paraphernalia is ending up.

Where are they going to the washroom in this park? As far as the community is concerned, these people have formally encroached and usurped a park for their personal living space.

There are many health and safety concerns, including that they are also having fires during the evening in contravention of the bylaw.

City hall has stated that due to the Supreme Court ruling there is nothing they can do. However, recently an injunction was put in place at a similar park in Victoria that had been encroached on by homeless, due to the sanitation risks this type of set-up poses.

I have contacted the health authority as well as MP John Aldag to express my concerns around the camp and health and safety.

I think the City needs to focus on the safety aspect of things, including the sanitation issue, safety (its close proximity to an elementary school and a seniors centre), as well as contagious disease — not just for residents in the area, but also the people living in the camp itself.

Christie Stashyn,

Langley City

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