Concerns to public safety spurred residents to clear a homeless camp off private property last weekend in Salmon Arm.
Breanne Honaizer and several of her neighbours waited for Salmon Arm RCMP to clear the camp of its occupant before setting to work cleaning the property near the fairgrounds on 10th Avenue on Saturday, Feb. 1.
By the end of the day, four pick-up truck loads of spoiled food, clothes and other miscellaneous items were taken to either the dump or a metal recycling centre.
Among items found in the camp during the clean up were blankets, bikes, strollers and two medical transportation carts belonging to Shuswap Lake General Hospital.
The camp had been growing in size since the summer of 2019 but the issue came to a head when Honaizer found what she believes was a broken crack pipe on a nearby driveway.
“That was kind of the last straw from us; we just had enough,” Honaizer said.
Honaizer and others had alerted the property owner to the camp as well as contacted the RCMP. But she said after being told by police to leave, the camp’s resident would return soon after.
“It’s unfortunate because he’s going to do this somewhere else now but it’s the only way we can get him out of our area,” Honaizer said.
Honaizer gave the camp’s resident a week’s notice before the camp would be cleared out. She said two hours before the cleaning party went in, Salmon Arm RCMP escorted the camp’s resident off the property.
Honaizer plans to return the two medical carts to the hospital or donate them to the Salmon Arm Red Cross.
Staff sergeant Scott West with the Salmon Arm RCMP said homeless camps on private property is not common in Salmon Arm.
“I would encourage property owners to ask people who are camping on their property to politely ask them to leave,” West wrote in an email to the Observer. “If people are uncomfortable with making this request the police can attend and stand by and keep the peace while this is done.”
“If the campers refuse to leave the private property then call the RCMP and lodge a complaint and we will attend based on call volume,” West added.