This unused BMX track on Homewood Road will be used as a temporary campsite for people experiencing homelessness in Campbell River. Google image

This unused BMX track on Homewood Road will be used as a temporary campsite for people experiencing homelessness in Campbell River. Google image

Island city converting unused BMX track into temporary homeless campsite

  • May. 15, 2020 4:30 p.m.

The City of Campbell River is providing a site on an unused BMX track to serve as a temporary campsite for people experiencing homelessness in Campbell River.

Work will soon begin to prepare the site that will support provincial public health orders and provide up to 25 appropriately-distanced camping sites for people experiencing homelessness in Campbell River.

The city intends to clear and grade the former BMX track on Homewood Road and make basic services available at that location, while provincial COVID-19 restrictions for physical distancing are in place.

The initiative is being developed with local social service organizations, including BC Housing. Plans are in the works to arrange for a local organization to manage and operate the site, and to provide as many support services as possible on site. Services could include regular meals, social supports and health services, including visits from doctors and nurse practitioners.

The city will provide preliminary information to nearby businesses and residents next week, including who to contact with any questions or concerns.

“Around the world, people are trying their best to respond to the extremely challenging situation caused by this virus. The province has asked communities across British Columbia to come up with initiatives that best address the local needs of people experiencing homelessness. The entire community benefits when we take action to protect our most vulnerable with this temporary safer camp location during the pandemic,” Mayor Andy Adams said in a press release.

“With limited local capacity to manage multiple emergency housing responses, community service organizations are pulling together to support people in a low-barrier, central location, where camping will be permitted and monitored to minimize the risk posed by this virus,” said city manager Deborah Sargent “People are already camping in the woods and along trails in this area. Setting up a site that provides appropriate physical distancing will better protect the health of these vulnerable people and reduce the demand on our medical system. It could also help contain the potential spread of the virus by reducing the need to travel throughout the community each day seeking basic services.”

North Island Medical Health Officer Dr. Charmaine Enns said, “I am very encouraged by this holistic and compassionate response from the community and City of Campbell River. COVID-19 is an increased risk for people who do not have the opportunity to self-isolate in a home so the provision of a location for supported camping is good for the individual and good for the community.”

Island Health and BC Housing have arranged for hotel stays if members of the vulnerable population require time in isolated accommodation due to potential exposure to the coronavirus.

Housing outreach workers continue to try to arrange suitable long-term accommodation for as many people as possible in Campbell River.

“This continues to be extremely difficult given Campbell River’s tight rental market and the number of people newly seeking rental accommodation following the apartment fire in April,” Adams said. “We deeply appreciate the partnerships with our community social service organizations and all the work they​’re doing to help with both immediate and longer-term solutions.”

In partnership with the city, BC Housing is currently leading two projects that will help provide long-term affordable housing solutions for Campbell River:

  • An affordable housing project for women and children fleeing violence (40-50 units)
  • Supportive housing (up to 50 units) with 24-hour support services, location to be confirmed

RELATED: One day at a time for Campbell River homeless population

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Campbell RiverCoronavirusHomeless

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

Just Posted

Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, is shown during a news conference in Ottawa in 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
Isolating provinces is a bad idea, says Canadian Chamber of Commerce

National business organization calls for cohesive approach to COVID-19 measures

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
School bus driver laments motorists who pass while red lights are flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Ron MacDonnell leans over the railing on Beacon Wharf Tuesday afternoon. The Town of City is currently looking into the future of the aging structure. It could make way for a concrete pontoon once part of the floating bridge over Hood Canal in Washington State. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney explores public-private partnership for iconic Beacon Wharf

Wharf committee recommends town invite pontoon company to submit proposal

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(File)
Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues

Homalco First Nation said that it will intervene in the judicial review sought by aquaculture companies with regards to federal decision to phase out 19 Discovery Island fish farms by 2022. In this picture from Sept. 24, a demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver.(Quinn Bender photo)
Chief says push for fish farm judicial review a challenge to reconciliation, Aboriginal Rights

Homalco First Nation chief reacts to Mowi and Cermaq intervention in Discovery Island decision

Most Read