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

Avalon Butchart in her kayak on Hicks Lake, painting in hand. (Avalon Butchart/Contributed)
Pandemic pushes Agassiz artist into plein air painting

Avalon Butchart heard a ‘call from God’ to bring her painting outdoors

The eastern Fraser Valley is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases.
11 new COVID-19 cases in Agassiz, Harrison during last week of February

The number of positive test results is a jump from the three cases the week before

RCMP were on scene under the Menzies Street bridge in Chilliwack on Thursday, March 4, 2021 where a body was found. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
UPDATE: Body found under Menzies bridge in Chilliwack that of man in 20s

Death not considered suspicious, said Chilliwack RCMP

Alan Pryor in 2015, during the Agassiz Fire Department’s 70th year. (Greg Laychak/The Observer)
Agassiz fireman celebrates 51 years at the hall

Al Pryor has been a key member in the Agassiz Fire Department since he was 16

Items seized by Chilliwack RCMP and Abbotsford Police during a Feb. 23 traffic stop. (RCMP photo)
Police from Chilliwack and Abbotsford seize drugs in traffic stop

Chilliwack RCMP worked with the Abbotsford PD to seize four kilograms of suspected fentanyl

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Burnaby Mounties responded to 56 complaints and issued 10 tickets to people flouting COVID-19 restrictions in February. (Patrick Davies/100 Mile Free Press)
COVID denier fined $2,300 for hosting gathering in her home: Burnaby RCMP

The woman told Mounties she does not believe the pandemic is real

Most Read