Should I be concerned – should you? Is this the world we live in……

A week ago a couple of “campers” set up along the river just past the Control Structure/Footbridge at the north end of town about 300 yards up the east side dike path. They are a female and a male.

I called RDOS Bylaw Enforcement 250 490-4130, the day these folks set up shop. The RDOS was not sure of who would be responsible for taking care of the situation (themselves, Town, Ministry of Environment or ?) and said they would follow up.

The campers seem to leave early in the AM and return in the evening but every day more junk is deposited on the site and it does not seem that they will be leaving soon. The area they have chosen for their camp is a place where many people, kids, dogs have easy access to the river. It is quickly turning into a garbage pit.

Many people walk past this area every day so I would encourage them to contact the RDOS and perhaps a number of complaints will result in some action

The guy was shooting up when we were going out, syringes and stuff spread out around him, on the way back he was out of it. He is under the blanket, his drug paraphernalia is in the plastic buckets and bags. I’m sure he disposed of his needles properly

This is going on only a few hundred yards from where you live. People that live in your area walk this path every day.

Publisher: Submitted by Don – who can identify himself if he wishes in the comment section. ODN contacted the RCMP for a comment or for possible action. No response

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13 Responses to Should I be concerned – should you? Is this the world we live in……

  1. Don Prokopetz says:

    I suspect that the Comments on the issue I identified have run their course.

    As I initially indicated I had no idea who these folks where, I just wanted to have them move on. I assumed they came from somewhere else and wanted to communicate to them that they can not do this type of thing in Oliver. I used an existing administrative process, Bylaw Enforcement, and hoped if I made more people aware of the problem something would be done, squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    Well it turns out these two are well known in Oliver (people keep stopping me and telling me stories). They seem to be pretty resourceful, e.g. using the new town garbage cans to move their stuff, I always thought that the raccoons would be the main problem.

    The only “society” comment I completely agree with is Sheila’s, she hit the nail on the head. I will clean up all of their stuff after they leave so I can let my dog go down to the river and have a drink without worrying about her stepping on something.

    Publisher: We are not here to completely agree with anyone or one idea. I think the conversation on ODN is constructive – something not done in many editorial venues in BC when it comes to social problems and the solutions/remedies. There is never one idea that is best or that works. Many people, many ideas and a process to find the a. b. c. that I pointed out is the answer. Let us try to focus on the remedy – way more constructive than talking about the problem that irritates us.

  2. Rissling Sheila says:

    While reading these responses, I am thinking back to my work as a RN in a 41 bed detox. I can understand trying to remedy the homelessness and unemployment, what I don’t get is turning a blind eye to addicts/alcoholics unjustified behaviours that can and do harm others. Tolerating these types of behaviours (leaving paraphernalia, bottles etc around ) allows addicts and alcoholics to continue in their disease. There needs to be a consequence for these types of behaviours for the addicted person to make CHANGE.

  3. Pat Hampson says:

    It’s easy to be judgmental when you have a roof over your head, can pay the rent or mortgage, have food in the house; here are some considerations:
    Maybe you experimented with drugs in school, maybe it was some other occasion, maybe you didn’t do drugs or do well in school so you get a minimum wage job and get laid off;
    you hunt for a new job but there’s nothing around;
    You may qualify for EI and apply or you may not; then you do odd jobs or seasonal work; BUT you cannot afford to pay rent;
    You get evicted.
    Where do you live?
    How do you survive these conditions?
    Your clothes start to get ragged and dirty, washing money costs money.
    You now look like a scruffy bum, who will hire you?
    No money, no work, prospects dismal, live outdoors in the rain or – C temperatures. Maybe drugs take the ‘edge’ off the cold and wet?

    Publisher: Good description of some PH. But if you operated a shelter that granted clean clothing, a bed, food, support emotionally, advice, maybe a job opportunity, resources etc. – how many of the first 100 through your doors would – stay, thank you, enjoy, take your advice or just want to leave this “shit” and get on with the life they have chosen. I guess if you got 20 out of the 100 to adjust their thinking that would be considered a success. Now the big question – how many of you are willing to give up your security for those that do not have it. Would you join me or PH in an experiment to prove his theories or mine???

    Just watch the clamour to my door.

  4. Robin Hopkins says:

    Reading these comments gives me hope. We live in a world ruled by the theories of economics. This involves money and how it is spent. Economics does not care about compassion and wellbeing and people for that matter, and in fact frowns on these concepts relative to moral hazard and the disruption of competitive purchasing actions. People have value relative primarily to their financial independence and further more to how much money they have to spend in the economy. If you do not have money, and cost society (govt) money via welfare or EI, you apparently have negative value. If you never get your hands dirty and make millions investing in the toil of others and pay only half of your tax rate (capital gains) you are a star and a success, but if you work hard holding down multiple minimum wage part-time jobs but still require financial assistance from the govt to support your family, it seems that you are a loser. I always have problems trusting the guy in the fancy Armani suit.

    Publisher: Agree with your last line but…the woman, the man, the couple I see that are most successful – are retired, own a home, walk in health, volunteer in the community, have lots of family gatherings, travel – all the results of a quality life of work and dedication to a plan. Some people just do not believe in planning.

    • Lee Ann Wilson says:

      To Publisher – The key word here is “Retired.” The retired group of my parents age “80” average had the best of the best of worlds… A one income family with the mother choosing to be home for their children/husband. Enough income to pay for a home and a pension plan that was part of the package from the husbands employment.. insurance of that pension plan for the widow. A good education for their children following a good paying job available. Our economy has changed drastically in my generation (65 yrs of age). I don’t need to tell you how the economic world has changed and the disadvantages of it.

      From Publisher – Lee Ann – I agree with one point only. The world has changed from when dad went to work at the mill and mom stayed home with her six brats, the wringer washer, the corn beef and cabbage, the margarine, the overcooked vegetables and if the kids were lucky – Kraft dinner with peas and tuna. Many fathers worked hard, drank hard and didn’t spend a lot of time with the little ones…… then radio was replaced TV black and white. Soon the ringer phone replaced by the dial and no operator unless you dialed 0. Dad starts to stay home a bit longer. Kids leave, go to university, get work, marry, have grand kids and the rest is not part of the story I think you want me to comprehend.

      Now we have many jobs but low paying and all that university training sometimes not resulting in a great job. But But – schools begging for teachers, tradesmen in high demand. There is no one simplistic answer to any question. Compassion works on a few – but many are in a self destructive mood and just will not listen to any form or shape of “constructive” criticism.

      I could go on and on but it is almost a waste of time in trying to a. find the root cause b. apply a real remedy c. get a positive result.

  5. Bill Eggert says:

    The mental illness epidemic is the elephant in the room few want to discuss or deal with.

  6. Don Prokopetz says:

    I am the Don that initially sent the information about the campers to ODN. I walk this path almost every day. If I see garbage I pick it up, if my dog poops I pick it up. I feel very lucky that I have access to a beautiful environment a few steps from my door. I feel the path is part of my neighbourhood.

    I don’t have any problem with the folks that are camping, I do have a problem with them leaving garbage, needles, poop all over my neighbourhood. If anyone wants to lend assistance to these folks I fully support them doing that. I have described where they can be located.

    By the way this “caring and safe” person did not clean up their kit after injecting, as the picture shows it is in the open right next to him. I or any kid passing by could have easily taken it.


  7. Joyce Bunge says:

    Drug use is not always addiction, a lot of drug use is not known by us because it is practised by our functioning job-holding ‘proper’ citizens who walk and work and party amongst us . To be houseless, with judgements from others who don’t want to see them as a person and a citizen, and to feel and suffer from the growing isolation and feel it’s effect upon them, leads many to choose to use something, anything, to numb the pain that they are going through. The fact that after this man who was seen injecting cleaned up from view his kit speaks to me of his caring and safe nature, even in this setting. And I am pleasently surprised that he will still greet passersby, when probably he does not get many greetings offered to him from most of us. ‘Homelessness’ is not defined as a problem of Mental Illness, nor Addiction, nor Criminal Behaviour, but as being without a ‘House’, and some will choose to live without one even when offered a door of their own, and for their own reasons. The Homeless have got there by their own individual and personal stories, something that we all have.

  8. Carolyn Tipler says:

    Unfortunately there seems to be a void as far as who is responsible for the flood control road/dyke/ on the East side of the river or in fact for the Hike and Bike trail on the West. My first concerns were almost 20 years ago when I encountered hunters who were about to discharge their shotguns in my direction – how could this be allowed – nobody had an answer, nobody accepted responsibility for these areas – some said it was Federal because it was a waterway, others said RDOS or Provincial Dept of Enviroment. If this person is using drugs and drug paraphernalia then surely this is illegal so why would the RCMP not get involved. Is it within the Town boundaries? I believe there are signs prohibiting camping – someone has to enforce those prohibitions surely. I hope your article will bring some response from whichever authority has jurisdiction – the trick is finding out who!

    Publisher: The “old” ministry of environment in charge of the river, the dyke and adjacent land including hike and bike. They – it – that most likely looks at it at least once a month/year. RDOS has designated parts as a walking/bike trail – KVR – (sorry the railway road grade far away from river or dyke). I agree with Carolyn – much confusion as to who controls the paths and human contact. Hunting is normally a provincial concept so shot-gunners should have a license to kill anything with BC Conservation.

    I am not an expert in these matters and LOVE input. As to the concept of shooting into your veins – we seem to believe it is part of life today that some of us “chose” to live on a river bank. I would love to have everyone in the room when we discuss – needles, stds, kids, drugs, aids, babies too early, homelessness, crime, policing, etc. BUTT – it just won’t happen.

    Look after your kids.

    • Carolyn Tipler says:

      Listening to the radio this morning concerning homelessness I wondered if it was not time for a Ministry to deal with this problem exclusively Province wide. Its tragic and not all those who are homeless have mental health problems or are drug user however having no home could easily push them into depression and then drug use.

      Publisher: I think Bill is on to something. Yes when the provincial government closed the large mental health facilities (year?) the problem began… the minds of some. But take a look at major cities in the US – same problem but not the same cause. (do you think?) Most experts ask us to look at the root causes of our national disgrace: poverty, homelessness, lack of work, lack of direction, lack of respect, lack of responsibility. One man said to me it is because we have given up on the church and God.

      Maybe – I have an open mind. Some say with little in it.

      Some say government is not doing enough. My point would be the government is trying to do TOO much – that it is not focused on big problems and throws the cash out the door whenever anyone asks.

      Here is the dilemma – we need big infrastructure projects in Canada but we cannot seem to find the manpower – the people to complete the work. We need to strive for full employment, we must get past the “baby boomer” bubble and plan for what comes next. It will be a new world when “we old farts” are in the ground. Maybe my answer has to be we must stop listening to the great music of the past and saying this Buds for you.

  9. Pat Hampson says:

    We saw the male with a shopping cart about 200 ‘ from the North structure while walking along the H&B Trail; he greeted us which surprised us.

  10. Lee Ann Wilson says:

    This is extremely sad… Obviously a lost soul. Rather than kick him on his way he needs help. Approaching in a helpful manner rather than being judged would be in his or hers best interest. I wish for more positive, educated and accessible help for all who are in need of one kind word. Hopefully the Police or whomever has the job of removing these people have the knowledge of giving them healthy advise and guidance.

  11. Richard Simmons Jr. says:

    If it is the two I suspect it is, they make a mess where ever they go. Addiction.

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