People given warnings before encampment evictions
Officers outside Rotary House on August 16, Grace Murray
The city says it gives people time to remove their items before their camps are taken down. To date, Enforcement Services has been alerted at 165 camps in the Grande Prairie area. Program Manager Kelly Kokesch says that once one is found, the people there are given 24 hours pack their things and leave.
“Our process is to post the camp and usually give the person 24 hours to remove their articles and tent and their important items. Normally we try to engage the person or find them to give them this information and if they can’t be found we post the camp and we return 24 hours later.”
The topic of removing these camps was originally brought up at a Council meeting back in October. Local Woman Grace Murray came to the meeting concerned about the treatment of homeless people’s belongings.
Murray said previously that she was walking near Rotary House on August 16th when she saw two RCMP trucks pull up. She says officers loaded up trollies, tents, tarps and what she says looked like people’s personal items, and took them away.
Kokesch says that every two weeks, people outside of Rotary House are given at least five to six hours to remove all their belongings. After that, contractor come and take the rest of the items away.
“Anything that’s left we either take to the landfill because it is hazardous material or is not of any use. Anything that is found of use, identification or items of value we simply treat as found property and it is logged with ourselves and the RCMP in the found property program.”
After the items are taken to the RCMP detachment, Kokesch says people are able to retrieve the items through the RCMP or Enforcement Services.