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

Cariboo Ski Touring Club director Ron Watteyne stands alongside new chairs and a motorized projector screen, two of the upgrades recently installed in their lodge. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel ski centre improves hosting capabilities

Cariboo Ski Touring Club lodge upgrades due to community foundation grant

Grant Johannesen, Colin Carmichael, Bob Zimmerman, Wade Sharp, Eric Lowe from Quesnel Search and Rescue were on hand to pick up a donated trailer from Steve Rutledge, owner of Chemo RV. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Donated trailer could unlock Quesnel Search and Rescue’s potential

The 20-foot long trailer from Chemo RV could pave the way for snowmobiles

Quesnel is under a dust advisory Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Cassidy Dankochik photo)
UPDATE: Dust advisory ends in Quesnel

Quesnel’s air quality health index is at 4, or moderate risk, as of Thursday

The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake GMHL expansion questions, concerns, to be discussed later this month

If approved, the team would begin play in the fall of 2021

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read