The location of the Smithers homeless camp was engineered by Smithers town counsel, headed by Mayor Gladys Atrill. it sits on what was formerly known as Alfred Park named after Sir Alfred Smithers, the chairman of the board of directors of the of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. In 1995 at the request of the Smithers Legion Alfred Park was renamed to “Veterans Peace Park.”
Putting a homeless camp there is one of the greatest insults these left leaning politicians could have ever accomplished. There is lots of provincial and municipal funding for bike trails but no funding to house these homeless, a quick fix would be portable units with stringent reasonable rules and no second chance at camping downtown. If you cannot obey simple decent rules there is no place for you in Smithers. We are not opposed to bike trails but question priority here.
Veterans did not die for our freedoms so we could trample on their memory, these so called homeless people belong in goverment funded housing, and or medical hospitals for the addicted, and or jail cells for those who are criminal elements. crime rates in the downtown core have skyrocketed since Smithers all but did a promotion to get homeless from all over.
“If You Build It, They Will Come” – Field of Dreams
Before we continue there are some statistics everyone needs to see. It would be fair to suggest that these are answers as given by the homeless meaning that its the reply they want you to believe, be that truth or outright lie. It appears the survey did not factor in any sort of evidence to back up claims, but rather chose to take their word for it. I am sure if police records were used there would be some gaping holes left in the survey, in particular in regards to previous residence.Homeless-Count-Smithers-2021
Recent social media on the Interior News Facebook account is full of testimony about how local residents can no longer use Bovill Park due to the dangers posed by people hanging out there, some complained of finding injection needles and it does not fit well if children are entitled to be there. As it stands now, Smithers for the sake of family security, would be better off selling the property used as a park (Bovill Square) and put buildings on it to keep addicts out of there. Below are just a few of the comments posted (minus the names) In fact if they cannot resolve the problem then maybe we need to end having parks at all, if that is what it takes to keep the criminal element and drug and alcohol addicts away from a public that deserves so much more from our town council. Fix the problem, create rehab and do not allow addicts a choice in going there.
If you are seriously going to be fair to the residents of Smithers, then the cost of housing these people should also be billed to the communities they came from, where they last had housing and or a place to live, it seems surrounding communities are passing off their burdens to Smithers. Most of the homeless in Smithers originated from nearby community’s that do not have what most of these addicts are after. Plus Smithers voluntarily opened the door to them.
NO MONEY? Bull tweet ! Its not funding at issue here, its the lack of will to deal with the underlying issues.
Based on figures posted in 2021 the BC NDP are getting around 73.3 billion Canadian dollars from taxpayers. The we read Global News telling us in November of 2022 “B.C. fiscal update’s $5.7B surplus dwarfs previous estimate.” Evidently money is not in short supply.
Where does B.C. get its revenue?
“Property taxation is the main source of revenue for local governments. This revenue helps defray the costs of local government services such as general administration, planning, water, sewer, transportation, drainage, garbage collection, libraries, protective services, and parks & recreation.”
I would dare to suggest we have established that funding homeless is not an issue in British Columbia. For some wild political reasoning the NDP have convinced municipalities that the homeless people are their responsibility. What a scam and to think that we have a representative in our riding that sits in the BC Legislature, ask what he is doing to solve the painful display of homeless camps in nearly every community. Is this what we want the world to see? Are homeless camps the new tourist attraction, or are they a political ploy?
If they are a political ploy, its obvious with the NDP in power it must be one they can benefit from.
Hello Nathan Cullen? Are you hiding again? Here we are 21 years later, reading back “A history of tent cities in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley” where we read quote
“And even though camping is generally not allowed in public parks due to local bylaws, a 2009 B.C. Supreme Court decision now negates that if there is no other type of shelter available.
Tent cities over time
Stanley Park Protest: February 2000 — The widening of the Stanley Park causeway ignited a protest with activists strapping themselves to trees and staging a sit-in. Ironically, a similar cyclist safety improvement project was given the green-light last month with nary a protester in sight.”
So in a nutshell, the courts have ruled that due to no other shelter being available, protesters, drug addicts, alcoholics, criminals may set up tents in local parks, oh I forgot to add and legitimate homeless people, now lets get serious, just how many percent of those homeless people are actually homeless as a result of something other than their own choice or choices?
My bet is with all the surveys the NDP does this is one survey they will never be caught doing, how many people in homeless camps are there as a result of their own choice, and how many are actually genuine victims of homelessness?
So why do so many people gravitate towards living in homeless camps? Let’s refer to a more local story from Prince George. “Restrictions at supportive housing complex lead some residents to consider becoming homeless again”
Residents of a supportive housing complex in central B.C. say its increasingly restrictive rules mean they’re being asked to trade their rights and freedom for a roof.
It’s leading some residents like Melanie Joseph, 45, to consider moving back onto the streets despite the cold weather and lack of services at encampments.
A year ago, Joseph was living in a court-protected homeless encampment a few blocks away from her current lodging, a room at a converted motel in Prince George, B.C., called the Knights Inn.
I would hazard to guess, based on watching local homeless camps that “rules” are the primary reason almost homeless people in our community opt to go camping over taking available housing, so most of these people choose to live in camps as opposed to really being homeless. So both local politicians as well as provincial and federal politicians use these camps as a political football against the taxpayers.
I seem to recall that many years ago, every citizen or resident living in British Columbia could go to a Social Service office and obtain temporary housing, and followed up by permanent housing, as well as food and needed clothing. We had many now banned labels for it, it used to be called “welfare” and everyone was entitled to get it. So what happened? Who removed it and who is going to put that rule back?
OH BUT! Wait a minute, we found it.
Use My Self Serve to assess your eligibility and apply for assistance from the B.C. government. If you can’t complete the application online, call 1-866-866-0800 or visit your local office. You will need to provide details about your current situation, income and assets.
A monthly income assistance rate based on your situation and the size of your family unit. For example, for payments issued for the October 2021 benefit month, you could get up to:
$935.00 if you are single
$1,525.00 if you and your spouse are both on assistance and you have no children
$1,280.00 if you are a single parent with one child
$1,720.00 if you and your spouse are both on assistance and have one child
Medical services plan coverage
No-deductible PharmaCare prescription coverage
So here we are, all those living in the tent city are eligible to get the above, next finding housing.
The Provincial Rental Housing Corporation (the Corporation) was incorporated under the Company Act of the Province of British Columbia in 1961. The Corporation is wholly owned by the Province and is an agent of the Crown.
We did a screenshot on eligibility, that tells me everyone in the tent city must be eligible.
NOW TELL ME AGAIN – Town of Smithers, that the town has an obligation to make space available for people without a home. Also I take exception to the claim “Town to allow people to camp near Veteran’s Park” The homeless camp is in Veteran’s Park, not near Veteran’s Park. Here is the proof.
We read the following “Town Bylaw change to allow overnight sheltering for Smithers’ homeless population” So the town of Smithers is reviewing a 94-year-old bylaw regarding temporary overnight sheltering options in 12 areas of town-owned land. Rewriting the law to allow tent cities to continue to plague the residents of Smithers.
And still all these NDP politicians playing political football with people mostly in those tents by their own choice, so they do not have to comply with civilized rules. The risks they pose to both the community and themselves is starting to become apparent with the amount of fires, explosions, violence, and local theft and break and enters is on a steep incline. As you can see in the screen capture below, Nathan Cullen, Taylor Bachrach, and Mayor Gladys Atrill do not miss a beat in getting in another opportunity to headline and show taxpayers how much they care.
Once again I take exception to the notion these NDP’rs are putting forward, we do not need or want new locations for homeless camps, we want and need housing for the homeless, no more excuses, and if they refuse to follow the rules, they will not be allowed to camp inside town boundaries, if they violate that rule, confiscate the tents and arrest them. Sometimes tough love is the only solution that works. Take housing or leave, no more tents inside the town boundary.