WATCH: The gates at Goldstream Provincial Park campground remain closed 10 days after homeless campers moved out. April Lawrence reports.
Goldstream Provincial Park campground remained closed Friday, 10 days after a group of about 25 homeless campers moved out.
“It’s been terrible. [We] can’t get down to the park take Skitty for a walk we go right alongside the river [and] can’t do it,” said Dave Wilson who lives in the neighbourhood.
Tourist Matt Willoughby took the bus to the campground only to find the gates closed. The next closest campground is 25 minutes down the highway in Bamberton.
“I’m on vacation for a week and I flew in from Arizona, from Pheonix, and I’m just looking for a place to camp,” Willoughby said.
The Ministry of Environment said it did its initial assessment of the property immediately after the campers left and found not just needles but potential soil contamination.
They say they now need to bring a contractor in that will do a sweep of the campground as well as any other remediation work that’s required. They’re hoping to have that done next week.
Patty-Anne Lea, who lives across from the campground, doesn’t believe it’s as bad as the government is saying it is.
“It’s sensationalism they’re trying to make the homeless look like their terrible awful people,” she said.
She said she has a friend that has found a back way into the campground and found the area the campers were in neat and tidy.
“Each camp area that they had used was raked clean, there [were] no needles,” Lea said.
But the Environment Ministry insists the remediation is needed for public safety and other residents say they’re happy they’re taking the time.
“I would be hesitant to go in there until they say it’s completely okay to go,” said Wilson.
The province says it won’t know when the campground will reopen until the contract is awarded next week and remediation work is complete.