Outreach workers visit bush camps on mid-Island after deaths in Whiskey Creek

Outreach workers visit bush camps on mid-Island after deaths in Whiskey Creek
WatchWith snow in the overnight forecast for the mid-Island and temperatures plummeting, outreach workers ventured into rural homeless camps Monday for the first time since last week's deaths in Whiskey Creek.

Armed with donated coats, outreach and peer support worker Kelly Morris set out Monday searching for homeless in the bush behind Parksville.

Morris says the homeless are on edge and may be unwelcoming since the three bodies were found in Whiskey Creek last week.

“I haven’t been in the bush since the incident,” said Morris.

After scouring known sites, she founds John Boyce, who welcomed the visit.

“Yeah a winter coat would be nice,” said John Boyce, a longtime homeless resident of the mid-Island.

“It’s been cold the last few nights, unusually.”

According to Morris, no outside visitors had been going into area bush camps since three people were found killed at a Whiskey Creek homeless camp on Nov. 1 because no arrests had been made yet.

Official estimates say over 300 people are scattered in the bush between Parksville and Whiskey Creek, and Errington.

“Right now all the bush camps are on alert,” said Morris.

“It is so dangerous out here and because there’s no accountability,” said Boyce.

Morris said she is still being warned away from visiting the Whiskey Creek homeless camp, which was the site of the murders.

“So that’s telling me red flag,” said Morris.

So for my safety and everyone else’s I won’t go out to that area.”

Hans Baan, who owns a 23 acre property next to Parksville, says that homeless camps keep popping up on.

“It’s been out of control homeless camps in here,” said Baan.

“Normally when I go in there, I take a weapon with me, a good long stick because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

According to Morris, what is needed badly in the small mid-Island community is supports for the growing homeless population.

“We need a 24-hour shelter before anything,” said Morris.

“That 24-hour shelter needs to come into place now.”

The Vancouver Island  Integrated Major Crime Unit is continuing to investigate the deaths.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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