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.

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

 

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

Cookie’s Grill owners help Meals on Wheels keep rolling in Chilliwack

Colleen and Colin Connolly are working hard to get food to seniors and others in need of a good meal

Chilliwack hospital offers thank-you message to community

Chilliwack health-care workers say they have heard everyone’s support throughout COVID-19 pandemic

UPDATE: Vehicle crash leaves 1,200 Chilliwack BC Hydro customers in the dark

Motor vehicle incident involving power pole could leave Fairfield Island residents in dark until 7:30 p.m.

Organ donation gives Fraser Valley RCMP officer a second chance at life

Cathleen Falebrinza celebrates Green Shirt Day after receiving a double lung transplant in 2016.

From tennis to basketball to pickleball all sports courts closed in Chilliwack

City of Chilliwack closed all facilities in town to encourage folks adhere to physical distancing

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read