A makeshift cold-weather camp that popped over Family Day long weekend in Parksville, located in the back parking lot of St. Anne’s church. (Mandy Moraes photo)

A makeshift cold-weather camp that popped over Family Day long weekend in Parksville, located in the back parking lot of St. Anne’s church. (Mandy Moraes photo)

As snow falls on shelter-less B.C. town, woman builds her own makeshift homeless camp

‘There’s no doors open and these people are literally freezing’

In the absence of a dedicated indoor cold-weather shelter, a Parksville woman looks to help those left out in the cold.

On Sunday, Feb. 14, Kelly Morris created a cold-weather camp in the back parking lot of St. Anne’s church on Church Road.

Since there are currently no cold-weather shelters in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region, Morris said she would have to make due with warm tents.

“There’s no doors open and these people are literally freezing,” she said. “It’s not OK for us to sit back and watch.”

Morris plans on keeping the camp accessible until significant efforts are made to help the vulnerable population and “something” opens up.

As of Tuesday, Feb. 16, though there are currently only two tents in the camp and only one camper at the St. Anne’s location, Morris anticipates the camp getting larger, as people bring their own tents.

She said that with the supplies they have, they can provide shelter for eight people.

READ MORE: As temperature drops, Parksville Qualicum Beach area remains without a cold-weather shelter

Morris said she chose St. Anne’s parking lot “because nobody can move them from the church.”

“That’s the only place they can actually go for any kind of sanctuary.”

She said when people experiencing homelessness set up camp within the city in an area that allows for overnight camping, such as Mark’s Nature Park, city staff will ask them to pack up and take what they can carry the next morning.

A lot of their belongings are left behind, such as winter clothing and other winter essentials, she said.

“We’re really hoping that something will give. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be some doors opening up. I’m hoping.”

Rev. Christine Muise, the Priest Associate for St. Anne’s and a founding member of OHEART (a local organization trying to find a shelter solution in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region), believes the campers would be far better placed in a municipal building but understands that “these people have nowhere else to go.”

Located in the parking lot, tucked behind the 127-year-old wood church, are portable toilets where campers can “as human beings, use the bathroom.”

“I’m not in a position where I can, right now, let them go find somewhere else because they’ve, as far as I know, tried other places. And there’s no actual spots within the community that they could safely sleep or go to the bathroom,” said Muise.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

HomelessParksville

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

Just Posted

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

Sylvain Fabi, Canada’s chief negotiator for the Columbia River Treaty, joined a number of government and Indigenous government stakeholders for a virtual town hall on Feb. 24, 2021, to update the state of the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. Trevor Crawley photo/Zoom screenshot
Indigenous input key to Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Ecosystem function included in negotiations along with flood management and power generation priorities

Shayna Jones. Photo: Louis Bockner
Kaslo performer collects stories of Black rural experience

Shayna Jones will create a performance piece about Black people ‘tucked away in the countryside’

Motorists encountered a delay on Hwy. 3B in Trail Thursday morning. Environment Canada expects up to 20 cm of snow to fall on communities between the Paulson Summit and Kootenay Pass. Photo: Jim Bailey
Snow causes early morning traffic delays in Trail

Environment Canada is calling for up to 20 cm of snow to fall in the West Kootenay region Thursday

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
MY COVID STORY: From doctor to patient

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

The BC SPCA is offering many chances for school-aged kids to learn about animal welfare and other animal topics. Pictured here is Keith, a three-month-old kitten seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
From pets to wildlife, BC SPCA offers animal education programs geared to youth

BC SPCA offering virtual spring break camps, workshops and school presentations

Most Read