City of Vernon crews clean up homeless camps in the community.

City of Vernon crews clean up homeless camps in the community.

Vernon sets restrictions on homeless camps

Caps will be placed on notice after five days if there is room in shelters

The City of Vernon will try and shut down homeless camps almost as soon as they appear.

Administration has been instructed to give homeless camps five days notice that they will be removed as long as there is space available in local shelters.

“They are becoming more than a little camp,” said Coun. Brian Quiring.

“There are sofas. We let them get a little too far.”

The city recently decommissioned camps near Polson Park and the Vernon Square mall.

“I had no idea of the magnitude of the mess,” said Quiring.

Numerous dump truck loads of material were hauled away at  cost of $18,000, and $30,000 could be budgeted for such cases in 2017.

“Time was of the essence. The camp sites and abandoned materials were unsanitary and unsafe, putting public safety at risk,” stated a staff report.

While there was a push for simply five days notice from some council members, Will Pearce, chief administration officer, pointed out that the courts have established a process for taking down camps.

“We could not give five days notice unless we had available shelter space,” he said.

Coun. Scott Anderson is concerned about the camps and the potential impact on adjacent businesses and residents.

“We can’t let it go on. We have to deal with it,” he said.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal says municipalities are being placed in a difficult situation.

“The bottom line is resources,” she said.

“I hope we can put pressure on the provincial government. We need to put pressure on both governments — provincial and federal.”