Cleanup contractors and provincial reps were back at the Sweltzer Creek homeless camp on the Chilliwack River on Nov. 13, 2019 to finish the cleanup. (Chris Gadsden photo)

Cleanup of homeless encampments near Sweltzer Creek almost complete on Chilliwack River

Next step for stewards and FVRD is conducting an inventory any other camps on the river

Contractors and provincial reps were back at the Sweltzer Creek homeless camp Wednesday on the Chilliwack River Wednesday to finish the cleanup.

Cleanup crews were hauling away bags of garbage, and bike parts, and helping to ferry some of the remaining occupants with their belongings across the water from the small island to shore.

“Two occupants had not left yet,” reported Chris Gadsden, one of the founders of the Chilliwack-Vedder Cleanup Society. He along with other concerned residents and Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) officials contacted the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) to report the camp locations and have them dismantled.

READ MORE: Cleanup on the river started Friday

One of the individuals living rough in the area had tried to hide bike parts and other items nearby but the cleanup contractors with Recycle It Canada uncovered the items under a bunch of leaves.

”All involved in the cleanup were very professional in the work they were doing with the occupants,” Gadsden said, adding they were asked if they had somewhere to go, and they said they did.

Next step for concerned river stewards and FVRD officials is conducting an inventory of any other camps along the Chilliwack-Vedder river system.

“My biggest takeaway from this is that action has to be initiated earlier before these camps get out of hand,” Orion Engar, FVRD Area E director told The Progress. “People are falling by the wayside. But if they’re not willing to be moving them off Crown land regularly, they need to be intervening for illegal activity or public safety issues.”

It seems to be getting worse in the rural areas like the Chilliwack River Valley, where there’s “a high risk” of the trash and debris degrading the sensitive environment, Engar said.

FVRD has jurisdiction on private land, but not on Crown land, so the onus for earlier action is on provincial ministries like FLNRORD.

“Hopefully these cleanups will continue,” Gadsden added. “We certainly have the government’s attention on this one, thanks to all for your posts and phone calls, too. With heavy rain in the forecast on the weekend we may have just got this done in time.”

It’s been an ongoing challenge in the area to keep the vulnerable riparian zones near the river free of damaging garbage and illegal occupancy.

A spokesperson with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development confirmed that ministry staff visited the encampment on Friday, and returned on Wednesday. The Recycle It Canada contractors began cleaning the site on Friday and were finished by late afternoon on Nov. 13.

READ MORE: Province told another cleanup desperately needed


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Cleanup contractors and provincial reps were back at the Sweltzer Creek homeless camp on the Chilliwack River on Nov. 13, 2019 to finish the cleanup. (Chris Gadsden photo)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Chilliwack saw record-breaking chilly temperatures on Canada Day

It was 9.4 degrees below normal on July 1, 2020, with max temp at 13.5 degrees C in Chilliwack

Kilby Park in Harrison Mills under water

Area is often subject to flooding, Historic Site will remain open through the summer

Overnight fire destroyed garage at vacant house near downtown Chilliwack

The same property on Reece Avenue on the corner of Victor saw a suspicious fire last month

Chilliwack band Joanie Loves Chachi releases new album, already an award-winner

The local punk rock band’s new album ‘My Brother’s Karate’ available as digital download

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

B.C. repairs COVID-19 emergency order for local government

Ombudsperson shut out as his recommendations implemented

Canadian engineer detained in Egypt released, needs treatment, family says

Yasser Albaz was detained at the Cairo airport after a business trip in February of 2019

RCMP arrest armed man on grounds near Trudeau residence

Officers descended on the sprawling estate Thursday morning.

Canada Day tractor incident kills three children, injures seven in Quebec

The tractor driver has been arrested following the accident

Undercover operation exposes prominent human trafficking problem in Greater Victoria

VicPD’s Operation No More took place in mid-June at a local hotel

Tsilhqot’in Nation demands meeting with feds on declining Fraser River chinook stocks

The Nation wants to partner with DFO to rebuild and recover the stocks

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

Most Read