No easy solution to homeless camp near Trail park

The Trail Times asked various agencies what can be done to address the camps near Trail park

There is no easy solution to resolving the community’s concerns – like discarded needles and garbage – surrounding the makeshift camp near Gyro Park.

The Trail Times asked various agencies what can be done to address the problem near the Trail park as well as a similar tent set-up near the Old Trail Bridge and trailers parked on the road to Casino.

For starters, the Trail RCMP detachment is aware of the camp along the river near Gyro Park and trailers along Casino Road, Sgt. Mike Wicentowich told the Times.

“The Trail RCMP Detachment will monitor the situation,” he explained. “We are working toward a solution; however, homelessness is a complex and difficult issue to solve. Enforcement is not the only consideration or solution to this persistent problem.”

The people living in the jerry-built shelters are known to police and are lifetime Trail residents, Wicentowich said.

“And (they are) considered hard-to-house clients. The Trail RCMP detachment is working with a local Trail mental health and addictions group on this issue.”

As far as alleged drug use at certain sites – photos of dirty needles, open naloxone kits and other drug paraphernalia have circulated on social media – arresting users is not the primary focus of police.

“The Trail and Castlegar Joint Crime Reduction Unit have arrested several drug traffickers in recent months and continue to investigate in this manner,” Wicentowich said. “The police do arrest individuals for personal possession of drugs; however, the focus right now is on the ones trafficking it.”

Jurisdiction over what happens on the banks of the Columbia River, like a makeshift camp, falls to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO).

So the City of Trail’s hands are somewhat tied.

“We are well aware of this fact and, as a result, have been taking action but are unable to take direct control as the locations are situated on Crown land,” Trail Mayor Mike Martin explained. “Where we have no jurisdiction and need to work with others (province, RCMP etc.) who have the authority to take action.”

Martin says the tent location in the Gyro Park area is well away from the family-oriented, developed park areas and hidden from the dog walking path alongside the river bank.

“We are very concerned about the fact these two locations have developed and although limited in scope, we are certainly uncomfortable about the development, and are taking steps to see that the structures are removed and the effected folks are adequately and appropriately housed,” he added.

“We cannot see the ejected folks disbanded and left homeless.”

To follow up, the city will continue to work with the Ministry of FLNRO encouraging them to take action, said Martin.

“We were able to partially take action with one of the situations as a result of hazards to the community (wood pallets and some garbage), ” he reiterated. “However, in this case, the tent locations are outside of city jurisdiction. And for that reason, we rely on other agencies to take the necessary action and we will continue to ensure the appropriate people are adequately advised of our concerns and the urgency of dealing with an impact on our community.”

When Trail does have the necessary jurisdiction, the city will follow up and deal with situations as they arise.

“It is most frustrating that a municipality does not have the tools by which to directly address these situations,” Martin said. “And (it’s) one which needs to be explored further, possibly through UBCM, as we are not alone in facing these difficulties.”

While these camps have only recently surfaced in Trail, others have been located in the regional district’s Area B for years.

And, like the municipality, there is only so much the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary can do, according to Area B Director Linda Worley.

These camps, located on the road to Casino, are trailers that are not hooked up to amenities like water or sewer.

“Yes it is happening and I have tried for three years to get answers,” Worley told the Times. “The bottom line is that this is on Department of Highways ‘ROW’ or ‘Right of Way.’”

Worley says she was informed “that they are not doing anything about it.”

“Some folks in Casino have told me that they feel these people have no where else to live,” Worley said. “And in their words, ‘Where will they go elsewhere in Area B, just move to another place, and what does that resolve?’”.

Not my words, those are their words, she stressed.

“My hands are tied as I have tried everything,” Worley concluded. “But it is not in my jurisdiction to go any further, as I have overstepped for quite some time.”

Replies from the Ministry of FLNRO and Interior Health were not available by press time.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Submitted photo of camp near Gyro Parkin Trail

Just Posted

Night time view of Area B. Photo:
Conservation plan underway for Rivervale water

The plan is to reduce water demand and streetlight energy consumption by 20 per cent in four years

The bobsled race has traditionally been a staple event at the carnival. File photo
Upcoming Rossland Winter Carnival cancelled due to COVID-19 crisis

This is the first time the carnival won’t be held in decades

With travel across the border still uncertain, Trail Youth Baseball’s all-star U18 Orioles applied to join the BC Minor Baseball’s College Prep League next season. Photo: Jim Bailey.
18U Orioles All-stars to play in BC college prep league

Border closure restricts American Legion option, 18U Orioles to join BC Minor Baseball next season

(L-R) Kazia Hopp, Colby Mackintosh, Hunter Guidon and Russdale Carungui installed the solar panels. Photo: Nakusp Secondary School
Students install 280 solar panels at two SD 10 schools

The panels will help the schools save on their electrical costs

There is currently no limit on the amount of cannabis shops that can operate in Castlegar. Photo: File
Cannabis operators propose limit on number of pot shops in Castlegar

Cannabis operators said six pot shops in the city is already too many

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Blue Sky Kingdom.
Kimberley’s Bruce Kirkby publishes “Blue Sky Kingdom” documenting family adventure to Zanskar

Kirkby third book explores spirituality, mental health, modernity and tradition

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

A full moon rises over Mt. Cheam on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rare full moon, Daylight Saving makes for a uniquely spooky Halloween – despite COVID-19

We can’t host costume parties but this weekend is still one for the history books

Most Read