North Cowichan by-law officers and municipal staff, supported by RCMP officers, dismantled a small homeless camp on Lewis Street near the Warmland Shelter.

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring says by-law enforcement officers moved in after numerous complaints from the neighborhood around Warmland,

During the clean-up, one of the dumpsters being used by municipal workers caught fire. The flames were quickly extinguished, and it’s not known if the fire was deliberately set or accidental.

Siebring says by-law officers and other staff took away 33 shopping carts, along with tents, clothes and other items.

As the camp was being dismantled, Siebring, along with the mayor of Duncan, a few members of their councils, and other local officials were meeting with BC Housing Minister Selina Robinson to discuss the issue of homelessness and addiction in the Cowichan Valley.

Siebring says local municipalities are close to choosing a site for a housing project but told the minister the facility must offer all the necessary wrap-around services, such as addiction counseling.

He says that last week, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy was in the Cowichan Valley and toured Lewis Street and the area to gain a better understanding of the situation.

He says once the BC Government makes a commitment to both the funding and services needed, the construction of a new housing project could proceed quickly.