Sutherland Place resident Doneen Goff stands by the site of drug activity and overnight camping near her Parksville home.

Sutherland Place resident Doneen Goff stands by the site of drug activity and overnight camping near her Parksville home.

Dealing with the dealers in Parksville

Residents say they are unhappy with the daily drug deals they say are happening close to their homes

The homes overlook Parksville Bay in what seems to be an idyllic location.

Just below the sunny decks of the houses on Sutherland Place, residents say illegal drug activity is rampant, constant and destroying their quality of life.

A group of residents who met with The NEWS this week said they have made hundreds of calls to the police — and almost as many to the city — about what’s going on in the ravine and beach beside and below their homes.

“I have seen them shooting up — a child of four found a needle down there,” said Sutherland Place resident Doneen Goff, OK with being identified in this story in spite of possible reprisals from the bosses of the drug dealers she sees ply their trade in the bushes below her deck. “Thank goodness it had a cap on it.”

The residents describe an organized drug-dealing operation, complete with lookouts on Island Highway. They say the dealing starts at 6:30 a.m. every morning.

“There are little kids they are dealing to,” said Goff. “One little boy looked about 10.”

It’s not only the drug dealing that has the residents concerned. People are camping in the bush below and beside their homes. There’s the accompanying garbage and at least one resident has had items stolen from the backyard.

Those who are using or dealing drugs, and others who may not be but are hanging out in the area, are also getting a little too close for comfort for the residents, even taking water from the taps on the outside of the houses.

“Now they are approaching our homes and that’s scary,” said another resident, who also asked her name not be published.

The residents say they continue to call the RCMP and the city on a daily basis.

“They (people in the ravine and bushes) either duck into the bush or tuck their stuff away and hang out like they are just enjoying the beach,” said Goff. “They know the police can’t get here in time.”

Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman said officers have “been there dozens of times.” He said police haven’t made an arrest related to drugs at that location.

Foreman also said a senior RCMP officer attended the scene with Mayor Marc Lefebvre and someone from the city’s bylaw department and Foreman said he believed a plan was in the works.

Booting people out of public spaces has become a little trickier since the city passed a bylaw allowing camping in all but a few parks.

“Our authority to just kick people out of a public park has changed dramatically,” said Foreman.

It’s not clear if this location is in the “sensitive area” along the Parskville waterfront where overnight camping is prohibited according to a contentious bylaw passed by council in April.

Goff said she believes the city could help reduce the problem by clearing some of the brush that provides the dealers and others with cover. The brush in question is on city land between the high-tide mark and the property lines of the residences.

Mayor Marc Lefebvre has spoken with residents and he has visited the area at their request.

“We wanted to do some major clearing and we were getting ready to put the tender out in June,” Lefebvre said this week. “But the Ministry of Lands and Forests wanted us to make changes. We didn’t agree with those changes.”

“It (the clearing of the brush) would have been done. Everyone else (other government ministries) said OK but not them.”

Lefebvre said he will be raising this specific issue with Minister of Lands and Forests Steve Thomson at the Union of B.C. Municipalities annual conference later this month in Vancouver.

In the meantime, Goff said she is starting to re-think her contact with the users and dealers who ply their trade around her house.

“I’m fed up with it so I go face-to-face with them,” she said. “But my husband is worried about my safety.”

Just Posted

Terry Mazzei next to a truck after it was struck by lightning, with him inside, on Wednesday afternoon, June 9. He walked away from the incident without injury and the truck sustained only mild damage; a blown front tire and newly broken gas gauge. (Wendy Mazzei photo)
Nanoose Bay man walks away unscathed after lightning strike

VIDEO: ‘We like to think that his dad was watching over him’

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

This young fledgling white raven was spotted in the Coombs area on May 16. (Mike Yip photo)
Expert says 2 sets of parents producing rare white ravens in mid-Island area

One of the iconic birds is currently recovering at wildlife centre after being rescued

Flowers planted along Highway 19 in downtown Parksville. (Submitted photo)
City of Parksville plants more than 15,000 annual bedding plants

Residents encouraged to take flower photos and post to social media

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read