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

Drive-in movie screenings next week will benefit Nanaimo food bank

Fortis B.C. and Fresh Air Cinema holding fundraisers at Woodgrove Centre

Nanaimo barber looks at new style for back-to-school fundraiser

Dave Lawrence of That 50’s Barber Shop getting tattoo in Fresh Start promo on Aug. 17

Neighbours try to clean up around nuisance drug house on Milton Street in Nanaimo

560 Milton St. was declared a nuisance property last month

RDN Transit requiring masks for most come end of month

Masks, hand sanitizer to be handed out in Regional District of Nanaimo mask policy campaign

Vancouver Island films sought for One Minute Mobile Movie Challenge

All entries to be screened online in virtual film festival

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 5

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

Remembering Brent Carver: A legend of Broadway who kept his B.C. roots strong

Over the years, the Cranbrook thespian earned his place as one of Canada’s greatest actors

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Canada ‘profoundly concerned’ over China death sentence for citizen in drug case

Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu Weihong’s home

Cowichan RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

Most Read