The residents of a rural Campbell River neighbourhood don’t have to get their mail from the post office downtown anymore.
Canada Post had stopped delivery to the Quinsam Road area’s community mailbox at the beginning of September, citing concerns “linked to the behaviour of individuals in the nearby homeless camp,” according to the letter sent to the city at the time.
The community mailbox has since been relocated, however, and the homeless camp has been removed, prompting Canada Post to resume service earlier this month.
“We have relocated the community mailbox to a safer location, which is actually closer for most residents,” says Benjamin Berman, manager of government and community affairs (BC) for Canada Post in a letter received by council Nov. 16. “The feedback we’ve received from the community thus far has been very positive.”
Coun. Ron Kerr says he’s heard similar feedback from the residents of the neighbourhood.
“I’ve been talking with some of the residents up there and they’re very happy with the new location for the mailbox,” Kerr says. “Supposedly the last one was in the middle of a puddle and you had to put on your boots to get to it once it started raining. The new one is closer to their homes and a lot better for service.”
Kerr added that the neighbourhood residents have also been expressing their thanks for the removal of the homeless camp.
“They’re quite appreciative for the removal of the illegal campsite and the work that the city and the province did to make that happen,” Kerr said.
The removal of the camp was a bit complicated, as it was unclear back in August which level of government had jurisdiction over the property. Once it was determined that it was Crown land under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development, it was indicated that unless there was somewhere else for the homeless to go or there was an immediate risk to public safety, they would not force the campers to leave.
In early October, the RCMP determined that there was, in fact, a risk to public safety due to the camp.
“When it comes down to it, there have been reports of domestic assaults out there, we’ve found stolen property out there, we’ve found kids that are listed as missing intoxicated out there and from a risk management standpoint,” said Const. Maury Tyre at the time. “Unfortunately, it’s a location that did have some issues.”
The ministry, along with the RCMP, shut down the camp on Oct. 30, and the campers were notified of an option to camp at Nunns Creek Park under a bylaw that does not allow semi-permanent structures to be set up.