Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Langley City council moves forward with bylaw to restrict camping in certain areas

In 2015, the BC Supreme Court ruled that people who are homeless can camp in parks between 7pm and 9am if they cannot find shelter. The court did place limits on camping: shelters must be temporary, and camping areas could be limited, but not limited in such a way as to restrict access to services for people who are experiencing homelessness.

To ensure that our parks serve all people in our community, and after seeking legal opinion, City council gave first, second, and third reading to a new Parks & Public Facilities Bylaw which places limits on camping in our community.

The bylaw does not permit camping in Douglas Park at any time due to the proximity to Douglas Park Community School, Douglas Recreation Centre, and Spirit Square which are used extensively for children’s programming.

Langley City’s new Parks & Public Facilities Bylaw would restrict camping in Douglas Park. Select image to enlarge.

The bylaw limits camping for people who are experiencing homelessness to only park green spaces that are not “improved.” For example, camping would not be permitted in a plaza, sports field, playground, building, or garden. As such, camping would not be permitted anywhere in McBurney Plaza or Innes Corner.

The bylaw also places restrictions on shopping carts, not allowing them to be parked in a park or public facility such as Timms Community Centre. The new bylaw also adds new regulations regarding motorized scoters, segways, and hoverboards. This will allow the City to enforce a speed limit of generally 10 km/h. Medical devices are exempt.

The bylaw prohibits radio-controlled boats and drones in parks, unless authorization has been granted for their use by a City staff person.

Finally, urinating or defecating outside of a washroom, not being fully clothed, and obstructing “the free use and enjoyment” of a park or public facility by others have been explicitly prohibited.

Enforcement measures, including fines, have been updated as well. The maximum fine is $100 per contravening of the bylaw. The City can also suspend, for a variable amount of time, someone from entering a park or public facility if they violate the bylaw, based on the nature of the contravention.

This updated bylaw respects the BC Supreme Court’s ruling, considering the needs of all people that use parks, plazas, and community centres.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the bylaw update. Glad to see there is some acknowledgment from city of homeless activity. Now to keep these people safe from the bypass traffic. Because of the proximity of Gateway, so very close to the road, numerous shopping carts and squatters are lining the sidewalks. It is impossible to walk along this busy road. The majority of these folks laying in the sidewalk, falling into the street, and yelling obscenities at passing residents is very frightening, and distracting to the fast flow traffic.
I personally have called police a few times after stopping to get a druggie off the road. It’s just a matter of time before someone is killed by a flying car or ripping motorcycle. The bypass is a raceway in this area. There are nightly assaults of women, and men taking place in the covey beside the pump station. Phone calls, photos, and personal pleas to police are being ignored and shrugged to. Please someone help these people. Help our neighbourhood to be safe. A $100 fine isn’t the answer obviously!

Shaun McLean said...

Which park areas in Langley City are not considered “improved”? In other words, in what areas *is* council allowing this court-permitted activity?

Nathan Pachal said...

Two examples would be certain areas of the floodplain and Nicomekl Park.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! First time since we moved here beginning March I have felt at home. 'People Without Homes' need to be provided for by extra taxes and shelters in designated spaces. They want Freedom - not to be couped up. They need to be able to reach out and tell their story. However, I am overjoyed the police, by-law officers and their bikes have cleaned this up. Now as a society can we give more in taxes from those well-to-do and build refuges such as in the Camino in France and Spain so that these people get a meal, a bath, a set of clothes, and be able to move on as they want to do with a backpack on their back. They want to be LISTENED TO! More than anything! Listen to their story. Is there a 'Donation' site Nathan? Is there a Good Samariton Van moving about in the community to 'LISTEN'and help just a bit.


Adam said...

My biggest issue is the fact that a ton of drug users are littering the areas with needles and other drug related items. Kids play in these places.
How about also enforcing the no campfire ruling as well.