Residents cleanup Lantzville homeless camp but also provide help

Residents cleanup Lantzville homeless camp but also provide help
WatchMore than 30 residents helped clean up a homeless camp Saturday near Woodgrove Centre but say they're also helping the homeless if they want it

Another group of concerned residents has cleaned up a homeless camp in Lantzville. This one on forested crown land across the Nanaimo Parkway from Woodgrove Centre.

Lee Forsyth initiated this cleanup on social media after a thief broke into his shed last weekend.

“It’s more of us trying to get our stuff back. Meeting these individuals they all have stories rather than judging them saying their drug addicts, they’re junkies or they’re homeless. Get in touch with them. Talk to them. Find out their story. Find out ways you can help.”

Last week, a similar clean up happened in South Wellington where dozens of residents arrived to remove junk and what was believed to be stolen goods at the end of Hill Avenue.

Organizers of that cleanup and this one say they warned people first.

A police officer was also on hand at the latest one, to help keep the peace if there are problems.

“Most of it is stolen. I know that,” said Tony Burnand, an area resident.

“We talk to the people at the stores. Home Depot. My kid works at Sport Chek. He doesn’t want to walk home anymore and Sport Chek is right there,” Burnand says while pointing across the parkway.

But several of those living here say what’s happening is wrong.

“We’re natives. We’re from here. This is our land and we’re homeless and we’re just trying to live our life,” said Mary, who declined to give her last name, but was living at the camp.

“A lot of people say this stuff is stolen. It’s not stolen. You know people donated a lot. There’s a lot of good people in Nanaimo.”

More than 30 residents took part in the cleanup. They say they don’t want to be called vigilantes as they’re also trying to help those who have been living in the camps.

“We’re here simply to clean up our community and help the homeless any way we can,” said Forsyth.

“We have a few that have expressed getting into rehab and we’re looking into rehabs for helping them, outpatient programs et Cetra.”

The clean up is expected to carry on Sunday.

Lantzville Homeless Camp Clean up

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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