Investigators remained on-site along Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek on Wednesday, Nov. 4. One officer was seen heading towards the scene in a white hazmat suit, following a large canopied transport truck. (Mandy Moraes photo)

Investigators remained on-site along Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek on Wednesday, Nov. 4. One officer was seen heading towards the scene in a white hazmat suit, following a large canopied transport truck. (Mandy Moraes photo)

3 dead bodies drawing eyes to the significant bush population west of Parksville

Official: ‘There are a lot of people living here, you just can’t see them’

After three dead bodies were found along Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek on Nov. 1, attention has been drawn to the number of people living in remote areas of the region.

A source told the PQB News she had called 9-1-1 on Nov. 1 at 6:10 a.m., to report what she had initially thought was a forest fire in the Whiskey Creek area. She had seen smoke while driving south along Highway 19, near the Little Qualicum bridge. RCMP have yet to confirm her 911 call.

In the most recent Point-in-Time Homeless Count 2018, presented by the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness, 42 people were identified as experiencing homelessness in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area. A total of 57 per cent of that count had been homeless for one year or more, while 43 per cent had been homeless for less than one year.

Auren Ruvinsky, co-ordinator of the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness, said “it’s important to keep in mind that these figures are only of people coming forward and identifying themselves.”

Regional District of Nanaimo Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) director Leanne Salter said “there are a lot of people living here, you just can’t see them. Lots of people living in the bush. And they span the area from under the overpass by the ramp, and all the way up.”

Salter said an estimate of 300 people experiencing homelessness along the Melrose Road area in Whiskey Creek seemed accurate.

READ MORE: Mobile forensic unit remains in Whiskey Creek following discovery of 3 dead bodies

“We have a lot of people living in RVs out there. That’s probably not as bad as people living rough with nothing.”

On Saturday night, Oct. 31, residents close to the gravel pit on Melrose Road said they had heard gunshots and several loud explosions that night, followed by the smell of burning plastic. Many dismissed the idea of foul play because it was Halloween night, and fireworks were rampant.

Salter stated that the RDN does not get complaints from the surrounding Whiskey Creek area about people “living it rough.” She believes that part of the reason there is a homeless community in that area is because they’re not being “pushed out,” which tends to happen in more populated areas.

The other part, she said, comes down to an over-arching health issue.

“If you’re a sick person and you need medical care, you need medical care. You don’t need to be put into a house with kind people with big hearts that care about you, but can’t take care of your medical issue because they’re not trained to do that.”

Her guess is that it’s cheaper to build housing for people experiencing homelessness, than it is to provide them with the medical help they need.

“And with COVID, its even more exacerbated. What little services, and they were minimal, that were in place prior to COVID, are not even available now.”

Cpl. Chris Manseau, RCMP division media relations officer, said there is nothing new to release regarding the bodies found, the gunshot victim or any potential suspects at large.

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Policequalicum beachRCMP

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

Just Posted

February 17, 2021 - Kaelyn (L) and Costin Campbell are Goldstream News Gazette 2021 Local Heroes.
Pint-sized duo inspires others to be green

Costin and Kaelyn Campbell are this year’s Environmental Heroes

Erin Oldman received a scholarship through Royal Roads University (RRU), called the Legacy Award, which is given out once every five years. Oldman graduated from RRU with a Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding, and is using the award to establish a charity called International Humanitarian Assessments, which helps people in war-torn areas of the Middle East. (Photo contributed by Erin Oldman)
Royal Roads University graduate receives $25,000 award

Erin Oldman will use the award to establish a charity in the Middle East

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read