The City of Parksville has passed a bylaw allowing overnight camping for homeless people in all city parks, except for two.
Springwood Park and Community Park are off-limits.
The need for a city bylaw became clear after a Victoria court ruled in favour of homeless people camping at the city’s courthouse.
“In light of the court decision which states that people have an entitlement and a right to sleep in public parks is that we wanted to have in place this summer the recognition that yes you can, you can sleep from 7 o’clock at night until 9 o’clock the next morning and then you must leave with you tent or you sleeping bag, you can’t leave that behind” said Mayor Marc Lefebvre in an interview with CHEK News.
He said overnight camping in Springwood is not allowed because that is where the City’s wells are located and that there are numerous sporting events held there in evenings during the summer.
Lefebvre said Community Park is off limits because it hosts over 140 events each summer and that there were problems with transient homeless people in the park last summer.
“On a few occasions we asked the transients to move, some didn’t want to move and there was some slight altercation with staff” said Lefebvre.
He added homelessness is not just a Parksville problem and that community groups in the entire Oceanside area are in the midst of looking into the possibility of adding a full time shelter for the homeless.