A few of the tents in a homeless camp scattered among the trees in Langley City's Nicomekl Park.

Langley MLA looks at homeless camp issue

Rich Coleman will be on a panel of mayors considering homeless camps at the UBCM.

A Langley MLA will take part in a panel on tent cities and homelessness at the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference which begins Monday, Sept.26.

Rich Coleman, the MLA for Fort Langley-Aldergrove and minister responsible for housing, will join a panel of mayors including Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read, along with a lawyer and a representatives of housing agencies.

The three-hour forum will look at the legalities and challenges of tent cities.

Langley has seen small tent cities of its own develop in recent years.

Most encampments in the past have been small and isolated from one another, typically in wooded vacant lots.

Earlier this year, however, a number of homeless people set up camp in Nicomekl Park, off 208th Street south of Fraser Highway.

The encampment has been an ongoing concern for local residents, who have worried about the possibility of increasing crime in the area around the camp.

Langley City has attempted to ask the homeless campers to pack up and leave during daylight hours, but that has not happened.

The forum at the UBCM will look at integrated approaches to solve the issues around tent cities and the underlying causes.

Tent cities have also sprung up in the last few years in Surrey, Maple Ridge, and Victoria.

Courts have ruled that cities cannot ban people from camping overnight in public parks if they have nowhere else to go.

However, the homeless can be compelled to move along during the day.


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