Campers again removed from popular squatting spot in Penticton | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Campers again removed from popular squatting spot in Penticton

Campers packed up their belongings on March 30 and vacated Esplanade Park in Penticton after being given one month's notice.

Campers at a popular squatting spot in Penticton were forced to move on this week.

About six to eight people had been taking shelter north of Esplanade Park, according to Blake Laven, Penticton’s director of development services.

Community Safety Officers gave them one month’s notice to vacate by March 30.

In an email, Laven said the campers, who were 1.5 kilometres up the east side of Okanagan Lake, co-operated and left the area Wednesday.

Around 9 a.m. that day, a couple of campers could be seen walking away from the park and three men were still hanging out at the beach near the tennis courts, which is the closest road access to Esplanade.

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The trio seemed to be comfortable where they were but their gear was packed up and ready to go. One said they would be moving onto their next place shortly.

Everybody camped there had the chance to complete a vulnerability assessment, Laven said, for the benefit of supportive housing and access to other services.

"The bylaws concerning this camp were zoning, fire and life safety, as well as camping,” Laven said, adding that camping there goes against a local bylaw.

"The Esplanade area is always an area of concern for the City due to the sensitive natural habitat, susceptibility to fire and distance from emergency services and remains a problem area."

It wasn't the first time campers were cleared out of that same section of public property, near the southeast corner of Okanagan Lake where a steep hillside meets the beach. It is appealing to transient people as it offers privacy and is only a short walk from the city’s downtown.

The following day, March 31, the beach area was clean and clear of debris. Aside from a few fire pits there was no evidence left behind by the campers. 

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