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Williams Lake city staff aims to dismantle homeless camp Monday afternoon, April 17

When approached by city staff, campers said they aren’t moving
A homeless camp in Herb Gardner Park below city hall in downtown Williams Lake as seen Thursday, April 13, 2023. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

A homeless camp below Williams Lake city hall will be dismantled beginning 3 p.m. Monday, April 17.

Gary Muraca, the city’s chief administrative officer, said city staff connected with the people in the camp Monday morning to inform them they would be taking it down.

“They told us they are not moving,” Muraca told the Tribune. “We know by taking the camp down we will be pushing them to camp in other places around the city.”

Mayor Surinderpal Rathor said representatives from Interior Health Authority, Cornerstone Chemical Dependency Clinic and Canadian Mental Health Association have visited the camp to connect with those on site.

“Gary has informed all of city council that we will store their belongings for the short term if they don’t have anywhere to take them,” Rathor said.

Normally city staff does not become involved with homeless camps until there are things such as fires, public intoxication and drug use, nudity and people defecating in the park, Muraca said, noting camping is not permitted in the city’s parks.

The camp is next door to a seniors housing complex - Glen Arbor - and residents have expressed concerns about the camp.

Earlier this month city staff removed a camp near Scout Island and two in Boitanio Park.

Muraca said the Williams Lake RCMP will attend the park Monday afternoon to keep the peace.

Williams Lake has a shelter run by the Cariboo Friendship Society and a temporary emergency shelter has operated at the Hamilton Inn by the Canadian Mental Health Association more recently.

READ MORE: Growing homeless camp set up in downtown Williams Lake park to be dismantled: City

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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