Residents of Chemainus living in the area of the Fuller Lake Arena are expressing concern about a camp for homeless people that was set up in the parking lot.

The Cowichan Vulnerable People Task Force is establishing several of these small “family cluster” encampments in the Cowichan Valley to shelter homeless people during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring says he acknowledges that there are concerns among the nearby residents, but believes the precautions and services put in place for these camps will prevent problems.

Mayor Siebring says, “there’s staffing there during the daytime, there’s security at night.”

He says they’re confident that this model for these types of camps developed in the Cowichan Valley, “will work and will address the community concerns.”

Siebring points out that it’s not the first of its kind in North Cowichan.

He says a small camp was set up to temporarily replace the women’s shelter.

“That’s been open for two weeks, to the best of my knowledge no bylaw or RCMP enforcement complaints there.”

He says it has worked well and the Chemainus site is using the same model.

Siebring says that as far he knows, “this model is unprecedented anywhere in BC.”

Occupation of the camp at the Fuller Lake Arena parking lot began on Wednesday.

The first one was established in Ladysmith and another is planned for an area along Trunk Road in Duncan.

The Cowichan Vulnerable People Task Force is also setting up hotel accommodation in which any of the homeless people who test positive for COVID-19 can isolate.