NOTE: This article has been edited to reflect that the camping area was NOT on the former Field Sawmill site, which is part of the Kus-kus-sum restoration project. The campers were on land adjacent to Hollyhock Conservation Area, next to the Field Sawmill site. The camp was on land owned by the City of Courtenay, located at the site of the sewage Pump Station operated by the Comox Valley Regional District. The Kus-kus-sum restoration project had nothing at all to do with the eviction of the campers.
The “tent city” on land adjacent to Hollyhock Conservation Area in Courtenay is in the midst of eviction.
According to a notice served earlier in the month, the campers had until 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon to vacate the premises.
Andrea Cupelli, co-ordinator for the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness was onsite Monday morning, assisting those affected by the eviction notice.
“The coalition has a homelessness response team … so we are here to help the residents of the camp with their belongings and moving them to wherever it is that they need to go,” she said. “We are offering them outreach services, applications to BC Housing, basically any services we can offer them.”
The recent opening of The Junction, a supportive housing project in Courtenay, helped place 46 people in need, but the numbers are greater than the facilities available.
The 2018 Point in Time count identified 117 homeless people in the Comox Valley, but Cupelli said that number is likely outdated now.
“Forty-six people are now living at the Junction, but I believe that number [of homeless] hasn’t gone down as much as we think it has,” she said. “There are about 20 to 30 people who have been living at this encampment site.”
Cupelli said the Comox Valley needs another two “Junction-style” facilities in order to come close to eradicating homelessness in the community.
“I honestly think we need at least another two [such facilities],” she said. “The coalition will be advocating for more supportive housing in our community.”
As for the campers at the Field site, Cupelli said they are co-operating.
“They are obviously upset, and a lot of folks aren’t sure where they are going next, but they have been really co-operative and things have been very peaceful.”
The City will initiate clean-up of the site Tuesday morning.