Kamloops officials will allow temporary overnight shelters throughout city

Kamloops city officials will work with the community's homeless population about informing them of new bylaw changes regarding temporary overnight shelters throughout the city.

KAMLOOPS -  Recent changes to the current parks regulation bylaw will allow 13 areas in the City of Kamloops to be used as temporary overnight shelter spots for the city’s homeless population.

Kamloops councillors approved amendments made to the city’s park regulation bylaw and its wording to better define the intent of the changes, at their council meeting yesterday, April 10.

The Parks and Public Lands Bylaw was amended to better define the regulations, according to a summary reported to councillors. The new amendments will allow a homeless person to build overhead shelter in public areas around the city, if there is not enough shelter space available throughout the city.

Those doing so must ensure their area is not taking up a space larger than ten square meters and cannot be attached to another individual's shelter.

“These changes are part of an overall strategy to deal with the full spectrum of homelessness issues,” says Kamloops lawyer, Debbie McCabe, adding that in the past laws did not allow homeless individuals to create shelter in public areas if shelters were full.

“It’s permissible; cities cannot have a blanket prohibition," she says. "Vulnerable members of society have to be able to protect from the elements."

Director of Community and Protective Services, Byron McCorkell, said the municipality bylaw amendments will allow city officials to work closely with community organizations to inform homeless individuals about the regulation changes, about where they can and can't go, during interactions at shelters.

“We will be working with various partners throughout the community to inform about the bylaw changes,” McCorkell says.

The new regulations will allow temporary overnight shelters in 13 areas being prepared by city officials. The shelters will be permitted from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. from March to November and from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. from December to February.

Some of the prohibited areas include parks, water parks, areas with sport facilities, cemetaries, driveways, pathways, parking lots, horticulture display areas, swimming pools and more.

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