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

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Overlooking Ucluelet’s Main Street shopping district, Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce executive director Laurie Filgiano cozies up with ‘Snowy’, the beloved decorating contest trophy. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet’s Midnight Madness shopping spree gets a stiff shot of madness this weekend

“As a community, I think we will come out of this stronger.”

Josie Osborne was sworn into the Legislature virtually on Nov. 24. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne named minister of municipal affairs

The position was previously held by Selina Robinson, who is the province’s new finance minister

A sign at the entrance to Ty-Histanis asks visitors to stay out of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Westerly file photo)
Leaders from Tofino-Ucluelet region urge tourists to stay away for two weeks

The West Coast is pausing its winter tourist season temporarily due to rising COVID-19 numbers

This large Spruce was one of several trees that came crashing down around CARE’s animal shelter during Nov. 17’s windstorm. (CARE Network photo)
Funding and fosters needed after storm destroys fencing at Tofino-Ucluelet animal shelter

The damage forced an evacuation of the facility, which was sheltering five animals at the time.

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Most Read