Letter: ‘Homeless camp’ a cause for concern

I have to wonder if the revitalization of the downtown area has simply shifted the homeless problem here.

I have witnessed a distressing change in one area referring to underneath the bridge on Yale Road along Railway Ave. beside McDonald’s.

The space under the bridge has been overtaken by homeless people. Having McDonald’s right next to it is very concerning. This is a restaurant frequented by families whose children are now seeing these people defecate and urinate in the bushes and around the bridge, alcohol bottles, garbage and broken glass strewn all over.

This problem has never been so severe as now. In the past the few individuals that congregated there were quickly moved on by Chilliwack city employees and RCMP and all garbage was removed. Three weeks ago  as people gathered there no one came to disperse them for  a week in which time the group multiplied and had setup a large  homestead. Finally the Chilliwack city workers showed up and tried to dismantle the mess under there. The homeless with their stuff were only moved a feet away from the bridge, I am assuming there is some bylaw preventing them moving them further away.

They just came back as soon as city employees left. I have immense praise for those city employees who kept coming back two and three times a day most of last week to clear people and garbage out, their frustration must be immense.  This particular homeless group seem to know how to work the system and have no intention of leaving.   I have spoken to business owners and residents who have lived here for many years and they are all equally disgusted. We live and work here in this area.

I have to wonder if the revitalization of the downtown area has simply shifted the homeless problem here. I would be interested to hear the views of others on this issue. Perhaps some focus on the homeless epidemic here in Chilliwack should be addressed sooner than later.

Linda Richard

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