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 health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

Fernie Meat Market owner Mark Brown with the newest addition to his Griz Pins collection. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Griz Days this weekend!

The 44th annual Griz Days will be mostly online

STA members and non-members alike are encouraged to send in photos of their trail adventures. (Photo contributed by Scott Tibballs)
STA plots another trail for Lunch Network

The network will consist of 6km of trail outside of Sparwood

A member of the Avalanche Canada South Rockies field team gathers important snowpack data that is used to produce daily avalanche forecasts for the region. Photo by Jennifer Coulter.
Warming temperatures increase avalanche risk heading into the weekend

Warm temperatures impact conditions, human behaviour

The Elk River Pedestrian Bridge in Sparwood could be at risk without mitigation works. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Sparwood secures grant funding for bridge repairs

The district has secured $703,000 in funding from UBCM

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

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

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Most Read