Bunkhouse for people living in tents in Veterans Park in Smithers. (Deb Meissner photo)

Bunkhouse for people living in tents in Veterans Park in Smithers. (Deb Meissner photo)

VIDEO: Bunkhouse for unsheltered people replaces tents in Veterans Peace Park

The temporary shelter is being funded by BC Housing pending a more permanent solution

The Town of Smithers has installed a 10 person “dry” bunkhouse for the people without homes currently living in what is known as “tent city” at Veterans Peace Park.

On Nov.17, Summit Camps delivered the trailer which is intended to be a temporary shelter until a longer term solution can be found.

The BC Housing authority is covering the cost of set up and removal of the shelter, and will reimburse the town for electrictrical bills.

READ MORE: Homeless count shows an increase in numbers in Smithers

The bunkhouse is insulated for winter and will only provide electrical services, supplied from the Smithers Library, but will not have running water or sewage capabilities.

There are currently porta potties available beside the bunkhouse.

https://blackpress.tv/embed/49045/Bunkhouse_for_homeless_people_delivered_to_Peace_Park

“It is not my favourite location for things,” said Mayor Gladys Atrill. “It’s just, we don’t have another place. And right now, the conditions are really awful in those tents.”

She noted she thinks the Town has an obligation to do better for the homeless population in Smithers as justification for temporary measure.

“It’s funded under an emergency winter shelter program. So it’s not forever. But I think our obligation is to figure out what we’re going to do afterwards.

Atrill acknowledged a lot of people are unhappy with the location, but believes it is necessary.

“We’ve had a homeless situation, for years. It’s just time to try to do better. So I realize people don’t love it. I mean, I don’t love it, but we have to do something. For now, that’s where it’s going to be.

The Town and associated service organizations, such as Northern Health, Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre, RCMP and Positive Living North that make up a roundtable for addressing the issue are actively seeking a more permanent solution, Atrill said.

“I definitely invite people to give me a call. I’m looking for ideas. I’m looking for better suggestions. I’m all ears.”

Council granted a temporary use permit for the bunkhouse until June of 2022 at its Nov. 9 regular meeting.

READ MORE: Veterans Park homeless encampment to stay in place



deb.meissner@interior-news.com

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Bunkhouse for people living in tents in Veterans Park in Smithers. (Deb Meissner photo)

Bunkhouse for people living in tents in Veterans Park in Smithers. (Deb Meissner photo)

Bunkhouse for people living in tents in Veterans Park in Smithers. (Deb Meissner photo)

Bunkhouse for people living in tents in Veterans Park in Smithers. (Deb Meissner photo)