The Regional District of Nanaimo is close to establishing a bylaw that would allow homeless people to camp overnight at designated parks. (PQB News file photo)

The Regional District of Nanaimo is close to establishing a bylaw that would allow homeless people to camp overnight at designated parks. (PQB News file photo)

Regional District of Nanaimo committee recommends adoption of bylaw on homeless camping in parks

Overnight camping would be permitted in designated parks

The Regional District of Nanaimo is close to establishing a bylaw that would allow homeless people to camp overnight at designated parks.

At present, there is no legislated policy or regulation that prohibits people from building temporary shelters and sleeping in parks, though there are now court decisions being used as a guide, according to a staff report. This has prompted the RDN to amend its bylaws following the measures taken by other communities that include Nanaimo and the District of North Cowichan.

In November, staff recommended a bylaw that reflects an approach to limit homeless camping to areas within parks, as well as prevent them from camping on designated conservation areas, facilities, trails, parking areas, playgrounds and neighbouring residential properties.

The proposed bylaw was deferred until staff were able to meet with individual electoral directors to provide input.

READ MORE: New City of Nanaimo bylaw eases rules around camping in parks

READ MORE: Growing homeless population in Qualicum Beach requires more attention from town’s only bylaw officer

Earlier this month, the regional parks and trails select committee approved the bylaw to be recommended to the RDN board for adoption.

Once the board approves it, the bylaw proposes areas where camping would be permitted. A person may camp in a district park between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. the following day. They are required to leave the park until at least 7 p.m. erected tents or shelters have to be dismantled. They are not allowed to leave any belongings behind and will be required to dispose of litter and garbage.

Under the bylaw, people experiencing homelessness are prohibited from camping in the following at any time — all regional and community trails and paths, all water accesses, and in the following parks:

Electoral Area A (Cedar, South Wellington, Yellow Point, Cassidy) – Cedar Plaza Community Park, Cedar Skatepark, Fawcett Road Community Park, Glynneath Road Community Park, Kipp Road Community Park, Thelma Griffith Community Park, Woodridge Road Community Park.

In Electoral Area E (Nanoose Bay) –Amelia Crescent Community Park, Arbutus Grove Community Park, Blueback Drive Community Park, Brickyard Community Park, Carmichael Road Community Park, Claudet Creek Community Park, Claudet Road Community Park, Craig Creek Estuary Community Park, Crowsnest Lane Community Park, Davenham Road Community Park, Dolphin Lake Community Park, Dolphin Marsh Community Park, Es-hw Sme~nts Community Park, Henley Place Community Park, Highland Road Community Park, Jack Bagley Community Park, Nanoose Road Community Park, Park Place Community Park, Redden Road Community Park, Richard Place Community Park, Rowland Road Community Park, Rumming Road Community Park, Schooner Ridge Community Park, Stone Lake Drive Community Park, Beachcomber Regional Park and Moorecroft Regional Park.

To read more, including information about parks in the Parksville-Qualicum Beach area, click here.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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