What was left behind after people were removed from a homeless encampment in the Chilliwack River Valley next to Borden Creek along the Trans Canada Trail after eight months of complaints. The mess was finally cleaned up on Aug. 24. (Submitted)

Notorious Chilliwack River Valley homeless camp finally cleaned up

Squatters moved to an undisclosed location on private property

A notorious homeless camp in the Chilliwack River Valley has finally been removed after more than six months of complaints from nearby residents, campground hosts, and campers.

There have been incidents of thefts, threats and even dog bites.

Those affected by the squatters were exasperated that provincial agencies seemed unwilling or unable to crack down on the group who were causing public health, safety and environmental problems at Borden Creek.

But finally, in Aug. 24, in a co-ordinated plan was created between the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) and Rural Development, BC Housing, and the RCMP, according to a FLNRO spokesperson.

• READ MORE: Camper bitten by dog near notorious Chilliwack River Valley homeless camp

”Once the well-being of the occupants was assessed, and a suitable location on private land was identified for the occupants to live, Natural Resource Officers issued notices for all personal items to be removed from Borden Creek,” the spokesperson said.

So where are they now? The ministry wouldn’t say, but a source suggested the property they moved to was near the south end of Cultus Lake.

After the squatters were relocated, the cleanup of any leftover debris took place on Aug. 24 by Chilliwack Natural Resource District staff at a cost of $1,655.50, which included the cost of a garbage bin, garbage pick-up, the cost to hire a security officer, and vehicle recovery and towing.

Patricia Furness, who is in charge of the recreational campgrounds in the area, and who was one of the most vocal critics of the inaction to remove the homeless camp, said it was baffling that FLNRO was involved because of a response she received from the minister just eight days before the cleanup.

• READ MORE: VIDEO: Chilliwack River Valley residents fed up with squatters at Borden Creek – June 20, 2018

In a June 28 email to FLNRO Minister Doug Donaldson, Furness complained, yet again, that for the previous six months the attempts to get the camp, which is on the Trans Canada Trail, removed fell on deaf ears.

“The homeless camp is just a short walk through the back one of the campgrounds and this is causing problems for our campers,” Furness wrote. “Our campers are having items stolen from their camps during the night, children playing on the trails are finding used needles, pill packages and human excrement.”

Nearly two months later, on Aug. 16, Donaldson sent a baffling response suggesting the issue was not a matter for Natural Resource Officers but was a housing issue.

“While I appreciate that you took the time to share your thoughts with this ministry, this topic falls under the purview of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing,” the minister wrote. “I have shared a copy of your enquiry with Honourable Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, for her review and consideration.”

Regardless of how it went down, Furness is relieved the site has finally been cleaned up.

Paul Jeffery who also complained about the camp, and others in the valley, was also glad to see a resolution at long last.

“I am happy to say that they are now gone,” Jeffery said. “The sequence of events was, first the six dogs were seized. Then the occupants were removed…. On last Friday (Aug. 24) all three vehicles were removed and a bin was brought in to remove all the garbage.”

However, Jeffery said there are still at least two other illegal encampments in the Chilliwack River Valley.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Neighbours in the Chilliwack River Valley complained for months about squatters camping next to Borden Creek along the Trans Canada Trail before it was finally cleaned up on Aug. 24. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Chilliwack reaction to TMX approval coming in mixed

Feedback has been ranging from outright acceptance to outrage

Loaded firearm in a backpack nets 2.5 years jail for Chilliwack offender

Shaun Fitzgerald, aged 38, has 45 adult convictions but vows to make changes

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

RCMP believe Missing Hope teenager was headed to Chilliwack

Keely Reeze Loewen, 18, last in contact with a family member on June 13

Chilliwack residents reminded to ‘stand by your pan’ after kitchen fire Tuesday

Unattended pot on stove leads to fire and smoke damage in McIntosh apartment unit

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Commercial fishers in B.C. now required to wear life-jackets on deck: WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC reports 24 work-related deaths in the commercial fishing industry between 2007 and 2018

Rossland boy finds human kindness sweet as honey after beehive destroyed

Family overwhelmed by kind offerings of strangers all across B.C.

B.C. files second legal challenge against Alberta over turn-off-taps law

B.C. government filed a second lawsuit against Alberta on June 14

Tax credits, penalizing big polluters, key to Conservative climate plan

Canada’s commitment is to cut emissions to 70 per cent of what they were in 2005 before 2030

PHOTOS: MP Mark Warawa loses brief battle with cancer

The Conservative Member of Parliament and long-time community advocate died in hospice this morning

Victoria double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst found no shoe prints on scene

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

Most Read