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People experiencing vulnerable housing to camp near Veterans Park

Residents experiencing homelessness will be allowed to camp near Veterans Park as funding for the trailer that is currently there has expired.

This decision was made by Smithers Council during an emergency meeting that was held on Tuesday (May 17).

In November, the ATCO trailer was set up for residents who were residing in the area in tents to allow for them to have heated shelter for the winter months.

The funding for the trailer expired in March but it has been extended but it is not anticipated to stay for much longer.

Mayor Gladys Atrill said the Town has a joint responsibility to ensure people are properly housed.

“In Smithers we have very limited opportunities for location, we don’t have a plethora of empty lots that are ideal for this. So, I do feel like we are at a disadvantage and we must find a solution,” she said.

Atrill added those experiencing vulnerable housing used to camp at the green space behind The Meadows but there was push back from people in the community.

Council mutually agreed that there needs to be a long term solution.

Atrill also said Smithers is not alone with having inadequate housing.

“Other communities are saying the same thing, we’re relying on a few people in the community to provide the support on the ground and we’re trying to find a place to put people,” she said.

Additionally, Bylaw Officer Matt Davey said it is anticipated that more people could join the area where people who are vulnerable are living.

Council agreed that there needs to be a long term solution but having people set up at Veterans Park is the best solution for now.

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