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 woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

BC Wildfire Service crew member Josh Hutchinson participated in a controlled burn above the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds on Tuesday, April 20 that was conducted in concert with the Williams Lake Fire Department. It was a good weather day for the burn, as on Wednesday, April 21, the BCWS is urging caution, with strong winds in the forecast Wednesday and Thursday for the region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Cariboo Fire Centre urges caution against outdoor burning due to strong winds forecast

Public, industry asked to consider postponing burning until calmer weather

Cathy McLeod (File Photo)
McLeod disappointed with first federal budget in two years

The 2021 Federal Budget released Monday, April 19 is “disappointing and politically opportunistic,”

A two-hectare fire is burning between Canim Lake and Hawkins Lake. (Photo submitted).
Homeowners urged to be cautious with outdoor burning

Multiple fires, tinder-dry conditions good reminders to be vigilant.

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)
B.C. researchers use air conditioning to combat spread of COVID particles

Dr. Adam Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation

Police road checks are coming for people travelling between regions while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. clarifies COVID-19 travel restrictions, Lower Mainland a single zone

Vehicle checks on highways, at ferry terminals to start Friday

Most Read