Rough sleeper camp that was cleaned up south of Red Deer in 2015 (Advocate file photo).

More homeless camps discovered in Red Deer parks this spring

Anyone who comes across one is asked to report it

As the weather warms, more homeless camps are being discovered in Red Deer’s wooded parks system.

About 85 “rough sleeper camps” have been cleaned up by the city on the first five months of the year, while 64 camps were previously cleaned up from September to November, said acting city manager Lisa Perkins.

The main difference is spring camps are mostly “active,” with campers still using them. The fall camps have been found mostly abandoned, perhaps because of the colder weather coming.

In case city residents stumble upon a makeshift camp in the woods, Perkins wants to make the public aware of the municipal policy in addressing them.

She said the city’s goal is to close the camps and clean up the area, to keep the public safe and enjoying the park system, while also providing rough campers with some better and safer housing options.

“Our strategy is to ensure the safety of all,” said Perkins, who noted many city departments are involved in a collaborative approach. This includes social planning, municipal policing, and the parks department.

The City of Red Deer will spend $500,000 cleaning up dozens of homeless camps over the next two years. During budget talks, city council approved spending $300,000 this year and another $200,000 in 2019 tackling the growing numbers of homeless camps spread throughout the city.

Citizens who find camps are asked to contact the RCMP’s non-emergency line (403-343-5575), or the city’s bylaws complaint line to make a report. A municipal enforcement officer will be sent out to the site.


Camp clean-up approved in city budget

If campers are found there, the camp’s location will be provided to a social support and housing outreach team, who will refer them to appropriate housing services.

There will be a 24-hour eviction notice served, and parks workers will then clean up the camp, including any debris found in the area.

Perkins acknowledged there are some homeless people who prefer sleeping outdoors to sleeping in shelters. But this is neither a safe, nor an environmental option, so the city will keep encouraging them to seek more appropriate housing.

Perkins said statistics will be gathered this year to determine how effective the city’s approach is to closing rough sleeper camps.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sasktachewan pup, who has extensive burns, makes her way to Red Deer

Donations accepted for Phoenix who has third degree burns on her body

Man dead in ATV collision in central Alberta

The Rocky Mountain House RCMP are investigating a quad rollover collision that… Continue reading

One airlifted to hospital after avalanche on glacier in Yoho National Park

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — Parks Canada says it has responded to an… Continue reading

Hundreds of Canadian troops deployed to flood zones in Quebec and N.B.

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault will visit flood-damaged regions north of… Continue reading

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

‘The Curse of La Llorona’ reigns over weekend box office

LOS ANGELES — “The Curse of La Llorona” (yuh-ROH’-nuh) had only good… Continue reading

New Brunswick premier urges caution as floodwaters continue to rise

FREDERICTON — Rising floodwaters have forced the closure of at least 25… Continue reading

Witnesses still struggling one year after deadly Yonge Street van attack

TORONTO — The survivor guilt settled in moments after he saw all… Continue reading

‘Shocking violation’: Parish prepares to re-bury remains after grave plundered

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Largely untended for decades, the toppled and faded… Continue reading

President attends Easter service following slew of tweets

PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump is using Easter morning to… Continue reading

Easter Sunday blasts kill at least 207 in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — At least 207 people were killed and hundreds… Continue reading

Soldiers deploying to flood-prone areas as water levels rise in New Brunswick

FREDERICTON — About 120 Canadian soldiers will soon be deployed in western… Continue reading

Soldiers deploy across Quebec after flood-caused sinkhole claims woman’s life

MONTREAL — Canadian Armed Forces are deploying in three regions across Quebec,… Continue reading

Most Read