The City of Vernon insists there was a need to decommission homeless camps.
Staff from the operations and bylaw departments were involved in removing large volumes of refuse from camp locations in Polson Park and near the Vernon Square mall.
“The state of the camps was such that both unsanitary and unsafe conditions were occurring, and both public safety and the safety of the users were at risk,” said Clint Kanester, protective services manager.
“In addition, creek contamination, environmental concerns and criminal activity being accommodated in specific camps were of community concern.”
A number of fires had occurred both in tents and in materials hauled into the camps. Additionally, large numbers of needles and general lack of sanitation in the camps concerned the city.
“Materials hauled into the camps are left behind once the first snowfall occurs, creating additional issues and costs in order to clean up these materials in the spring,” said Kanester.
The cleanup costs for abandoned and decommissioned camps in Vernon this year is about $25,000.
“The city has been working closely with service agencies to provide outreach and ensure that shelter space was available for campers,” said Kanester.