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Province promises cleanup of former Vernon homeless camp

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Province pledges quick cleanup of former homeless camp – Mar 22, 2018

It’s been two months since homeless campers where evicted from a site along Highway 97 in Vernon.

However, some of their garbage still remains, raising concerns about contamination of a nearby creek.

The province is now promising the mess will be cleaned up within the next week.

The campers are long gone, they were served notice in January they’d have to leave the site, but on Thursday morning a lot of garbage still remained, including needles.

“It’s disgusting, totally disgusting,” Vernon resident Bob Mayer said.

“Downstream is a thousand times worse, it is floating in the water.”

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Debris at the site of a former Vernon homeless camp near Highway 97. You can see a needle in the garbage. This area was cleaned up Thursday. Megan Turcato / Global News
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A group from Venture Training cleaning up part of the former homeless camp site near Highway 97. Megan Turcato / Global News
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Part of the site looked a lot cleaner after a Venture Training crew came in on Thursday. Megan Turcato / Global News
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Garbage and debris in a creek near Highway 97. The province has promised the whole area will be cleaned up within the next week. Megan Turcato / Global News

He’s right. Not far to the south near the intersection of Highway 97 and 48 Avenue, the remains of what looks like entire campsites litter the shore of a creek and float in the water.

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The debris included all manner of garbage and has Mayer concerned the water is being polluted.

While Global News was filming on Thursday a contracted cleanup crew coincidently showed up to start work on the more northern area.

They said that the area wasn’t fully cleaned up after campers were evicted in January because ice and snow covered the ground and the garbage.

READ MORE: Vernon homeless encampment busted up for safety reasons

The crew’s efforts leave the more northern area much tidier.

However, that still leaves the floating debris to the south.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said this second round of cleanup work that began on Thursday had been previously scheduled.

The province promised the entire space will be cleared within the next week.

The ministry also said it would assess the area to ensure there are no environmental impacts to the creek.

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