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Kamloops neighbourhood strained by ongoing issues with drug users

A homeless encampment at Arthur Hatton Elementary School in Kamloops, littered with garbage, a smashed lightbulb and a piece of two by four with nails in it.
Image Credit: Shannon Ainslie
July 04, 2021 - 8:00 PM

Amanda Leach’s Kamloops neighbourhood has become increasingly unsafe and she has had enough.

Just today, July 4, she and her husband Scott walked outside their front door and came upon a discarded tent and used needles. 

It was unnerving but her husband cleaned up the needles and took the tent next door to Arthur Hatton Elementary school, where people have been camping out since summer started.

“Scott walked over there and saw a man and a woman passed out, both with needles still stuck in their bodies,” Amanda explained.

“He nudged them to see if they were alive. The man moaned and the woman was barely responsive. Scott had to go to work, so he dropped the needles in a safe needle disposal box on his way. At first, I was upset that he had risked cleaning them up, but he didn’t want a child to come across them.”

Amanda and her family have lived in the neighbourhood for more than a year. They have a child who attends the elementary school. There are other children in their neighbourhood who use the park regularly outside of school hours.

“The homeless will be camping and using drugs on the school field all summer,” Leach said. “They move off the beach along Schubert Ave when the river rises. During the school year, I see teachers and even the secretary out in the mornings, doing the rounds, checking for needles and ensuring the park is safe for students. This shouldn’t be their job.”

The conflict between the homeless population and the residents on the North Shore in Kamloops has been growing in intensity this year.  Incidents of criminal activity continue as the city and North Shore business owners grapple to find a solution.

“I work really hard to spread awareness of the epidemic of drugs and homelessness in our city, especially in our North Shore community,” Leach said. “I even fight with my husband to try to get him to have more compassion for these people. I worry about these users because they are sick and need help, but this morning’s incident was not OK.”

Leach and some other concerned neighbours have plans to form a neighbourhood watch group.

News from © iNFOnews, 2021
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