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LETTER: Vedder River homeless camp mess is infuriating

Shame on the government officials for allowing this to continue
Aftermath of fire at camp on Sweltzer Creek under the Vedder Bridge. (Zeeshan Khan photo)

Two Sundays ago, a group of environmentally concerned volunteers showed up at the Vedder River homeless encampment to clean up the tonnes of garbage, syringes and stolen household goods in an attempt to do what every level of government has been unable or actually unwilling to do for years.

Unfortunately this is only a Band-Aid solution as the residents will stay and this desecration will continue. Currently, Sweltzer Creek is being used as a toilet for them with raw sewage flowing into the Vedder. Do the salmon really need another reason to not return?

READ MORE: Homeless camp torched under the Vedder River bridge near Chilliwack

Shame on the provincial government and their Natural Resource Officers who allow this to continue. Shame on the federal government while the various ministries, fisheries, forestry and the environmental agencies all squabble over jurisdictional responsibilities.

Meanwhile, every imaginable toxin, effluent, garbage and drug use material wash into what was once a very productive river. One that brings a lot of money into the local economy. It’s infuriating to watch this all happen while nothing is being done about removing the core cause of this impending disaster.

And lastly, shame on MP Mark Strahl the man we elected to represent our local concerns. Everyone in the Sardis area knows of this pollution factory and no government agency is anywhere near concerned. Mark, you have a direct line to these ministries and now you’ve turned your back on us too?

Meanwhile, the tools will continue to disappear from your garages and sheds, your children’s bikes will be stolen and propane cylinders will vanish. I removed 32 empty propane cylinders from the site, all stolen. A massive pile of stolen bicycles, dismantled for parts still remains.

People may claim mental health as a byproduct of homelessness. If this is the case here, it’s brought on by drug abuse.

In these days of unprecedented labour shortages, where jobs are looking for people, it won’t apply to those that have adopted this lifestyle and rendered themselves unemployable. I realize homelessness is a social issue that isn’t going away, maybe ever, but it’s the location of this one that is particularly problematic since it sits at the confluence of two salmon spawning waterways.

That is, if those fish choose to return.

Ernie Plett

Chilliwack River Valley

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