Our View: No win in battle for parks

Langley City began dismantling a scattered homeless camp in Nicomekl Park this week.

Temporary emergency housing is being provided, and while it will help some people get off the streets, others will simply move on.

There is an ongoing, quiet struggle between homeless people on one side, and on the other cities and residents.

Homeless people need somewhere to stay, and to keep their possessions. Public parks allow them somewhere to stay. A court ruling in B.C. gives them the right to stay there overnight, although cities have the right to ask them to move along and clear out their possessions during the daylight hours.

Meanwhile, residents and cities grow worried. There are fears of crime and drug use, and while the homeless are not responsible for the majority of crime in a community, some homeless people do commit petty crimes.

Just as everyone has the right to enjoy public parks free of fear of crime, everyone has a right to live under a roof. Our current situation leaves our citizens with neither right fulfilled.

Moving the homeless along, and giving them an alternative is a good first step. Langley City and the Gateway of Hope shelter are to be thanked for trying to take action on an issue that has dogged the City over the last year.

Unfortunately, with the spike in homelessness over the past decade, we know that one action won’t solve the problem.

Some homeless people will camp out in other parks, or in the bush on private property, until they are evicted again.

The provincial government is working on increasing the housing supply. Along with addiction and mental health programs, that is the only long term solution to the issue.

– M.C.



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