Town removes homeless camp at King St and Hwy 16

Town removes homeless camp at King St and Hwy 16

Four people lost their tents and belongings when the Town brought in heavy equipment last week

A couple of tents have been removed by the Town of Smithers at the corner of Hwy 16 and King Street, leaving four people without a place to call home.

Kirsten Patrick, her boyfriend Floyd Hyzins, her mom Marina and her mom’s boyfriend Daniel have been staying there for eight months.

“It breaks my heart,” said Patrick. “My mom was expecting to come home to our home that we have been in for eight months. They took it away without giving us any warning or anything …. especially with my sister’s stuff in there.”

Patrick’s 18-year-old sister, Jessica died in 2018. The investigation into her death is ongoing.

“It literally went to the dump,” added Patrick. “My baby sister’s big picture that we had from her funeral last year and her wallet. That was the last thing we had from her. It really hurts, it was the only thing we had.”

Patrick said they were not affiliated with the camp further down the street that was cleaned up by the town last month. Smithers council decided to clean up the area after several neighbours along Fourth Avenue complained of noise, drug use and a smelly fire burning.

Patrick added she and her family were not causing disturbances or using drugs.

“My cousin texted me and said ‘oh they are taking your tent down’ and I said ‘What?!’ and she said ‘oh the Town is taking down your tent.’ So I started running and booked it down here and by the time I got here they already had my mom’s whole tent in the back of a dump truck. I asked if I could go in there and grab things. I told them I needed my sister’s big picture.”

She said they told her they’d try to go through it but doesn’t think they did.

“I started crying,” she said.

“We are just pretty sad that it happened,” added Hyzins.

Bylaw officer Matt Davey confirmed the Town removed the tents and cleaned up the area on Nov. 15. He did not give the residents notice because he did not think they were living there anymore, he said.

“The landlord of the King Street Apartments had indicated that the tents had been abandoned stating that he had seen no activity for over two weeks,” Davey said. “I was told by a housing advocate that the main tenant, Marina Patrick, had re-located to a community north of Smithers. I visited the tents on three occasions and they appeared barricaded and uninhabited.”

Kirsten Patrick said her mom was just visiting Good Hope and was planning on coming back last weekend until she heard about her tent being removed. Patrick isn’t sure when her mom will be back now and where she will stay once she gets back. Patrick and Hyzins have been looking for somewhere to stay, but so far they have been either sleeping outside or with a relative. Her baby is staying with her aunt.

Davey added he attempted to put aside any re-usable items or things that may be of further use into his truck. However clean-up crews did not conduct a thorough search of the tents due to possible risks of contaminants being present.

“Heavy machinery was used to lift debris into the garbage truck and the items were transported to the Smithers Transfer Station,” Davey said.

He added when Patrick and Hyzins did show up toward the end of the clean-up, he helped them gather some items and he will put them into storage until they can find suitable housing.

Davey has been discussing relocating the camp with Marina Patrick to a less visible and problematic location since the spring. He said she is aware of the issues the location of their camp has been causing for neighbouring properties.

Housings advocates have long said finding suitable housing can be a challenge with the new supportive housing building, Goodacre Place, at capacity, Broadway Shelter closed and limited availability and high rental prices.

“We will continue to work with the displaced residents and will advocate on their behalf to secure housing,” added Davey.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

(BC Hydro photo)
BC Hydro planned power outages to darken downtown Smithers for most of day Sunday, Jan 17

Replacement of poles will affect approximately 250 customers in downtown core from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Smithers Local Health Area reported 25 new cases of COVID-19 Jan. 3 - 9. (BC CDC graphic)
Weekly new cases of COVID-19 rise to 25 in Smithers LHA Jan. 3 – 9

Northern Health reported 49 new daily cases for 497 active, 44 hospitalized, 13 in critical care

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

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

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Most Read