The Regional District of Nanaimo is set to introduce a bylaw that will prevent tent cities to be erected in community and regional parks. (NEWS file photo)

Regional District of Nanaimo committee recommends adoption of bylaw on homeless camping in parks

Overnight camping would be permitted in designated parks

The Regional District of Nanaimo is close to establishing a bylaw that would allow homeless people to camp overnight at designated parks.

At present, there is no legislated policy or regulation that prohibits people from building temporary shelters and sleeping in parks, though there are now court decisions being used as a guide. This has prompted the RDN to amend its bylaws following the measures taken by other communities that include Nanaimo, Abbotsford and the District of North Cowichan.

In November, staff recommended a bylaw that reflects an approach to limit homeless camping to areas within parks, as well as prevent them from camping on designated conservation areas, facilities, trails, parking areas, playgrounds and neighbouring residential properties.

The proposed bylaw was deferred until staff were able to meet with individual electoral directors to provide input.

Earlier this month, the regional parks and trails select committee approved the bylaw to be recommended to the RDN board for adoption.

Once the board approves it, the bylaw proposes areas where camping would be permitted. A person may camp in a district park between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. the following day.

They are required to leave the park until at least 7 p.m. erected tents or shelters have to be dismantled. They are not allowed to leave any belongings behind and will be required to dispose of litter and garbage.

In Bylaw 1981, homeless persons are prohibited from camping in the following at any time — all regional and community trails and paths; all water accesses; and in the following parks in District 69:

In Electoral Area E (Nanoose Bay) –Amelia Crescent Community Park, Arbutus Grove Community Park, Blueback Drive Community Park, Brickyard Community Park, Carmichael Road Community Park, Claudet Creek Community Park, Claudet Road Community Park, Craig Creek Estuary Community Park, Crowsnest Lane Community Park, Davenham Road Community Park, Dolphin Lake Community Park, Dolphin Marsh Community Park, Es-hw Sme~nts Community Park, Henley Place Community Park, Highland Road Community Park, Jack Bagley Community Park, Nanoose Road Community Park, Park Place Community Park, Redden Road Community Park, Richard Place Community Park, Rowland Road Community Park, Rumming Road Community Park, Schooner Ridge Community Park, Stone Lake Drive Community Park, Beachcomber Regional Park and Moorecroft Regional Park

In Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) — Allsbrook Road Community Park, Brooklin Lane Community Park, Coombs Station Community Park, Errington Community Park, French Creek School Community Park, Harris Crescent Community Park, Kerr Road Community Park, Little Qualicum Falls Community Park, Meadowood Community Park, Melon Road Community Park, and Old Alberni Hwy Community Park.

In Electoral Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River) — Blue Water Place Community Park Boultbee Drive Community Park, Brookfield Windridge Community Park, Centre Crescent Community Park, Cinnamon Sedge Matuka Community Park, Columbia Drive East Side Community Park, Dalmatian Drive Community Park, Dashwood Community Park, Hawthorne Rise Community Park, Kaye Peterson Community Park, Kaye Rivers Edge Community Park, Kaye Road Community Park, Matuka Drive Community Park, Miller Road Community Park, Maple Lane Community Park, Neden Way Community Park, Peterson Rascal Community Park, Quails Landing Way, Riley Sanika Community Park, San Malo Crescent Community Park, Stanhope Community Park, Stormwater Community Park, Sumar Lane Community Park, Top Bridge Community Park, Little Qualicum River Estuary RCA, Dashwood Community Park, French Creek Community Park and River’s Edge Community Park

In Electoral Area H (Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay) — Deep Bay Creek Community, Park Henry Morgan Community, Park Lions Community Park, Wildwood Place Community Park and Horne Lake Regional Park

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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