Litter from Edmonton homeless encampments an ongoing issue, say residents, city staff

Homeless Encampment
WATCH ABOVE: With the snow mostly melted in Edmonton, the issue of litter and debris from homeless encampments has come up again. Albert Delitala has more.

Now that the snow has largely melted in Edmonton, litter and other debris are becoming more visible across the city. Some of the mess is not only an eyesore but part of a bigger problem.

Andrew Croy walks his dog in Edmonton’s Tiger Goldstick Park several times a week. He says a homeless encampment previously took up a forested corner of the park until the people living there got evicted last fall.

“When I first noticed the camp, I thought, ‘It’s just a couple of tents.’ But then it just started getting worse and worse,” Croy said.

READ MORE: A glimpse into Edmonton’s river valley homeless

Since the snow has melted, mounds of abandoned items have become more visible.

Croy said he has asked the city several times to clean it up.

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“I would clean it up myself, but it’s putting myself at risk, too, because I don’t know what entirely is in here,” he said.

READ MORE: 180K pounds of garbage removed from 950 Edmonton homeless camps

Officials said there are encampments in almost every area of Edmonton and that the city has cleaned up 2,800 of them since last year.

“Some camps are very small and can be taken care of within half an hour, an hour,” City of Edmonton natural operations supervisor Darren Grove said.

“Other camps, we need to bring in additional resources, and sometimes they even have dumpsters on site, and it takes some machinery to haul materials off site.”

READ MORE: Updated plan sets sights on ending chronic homelessness in Edmonton by 2022

A camp in Riverdale also popped up last fall, according to staff at a neighbouring apartment building.

As the snow continues to melt away, Croy plans to continue his walks in Tiger Goldstick Park while he waits for crews to clean up the mess.

The city said residents concerned about an encampment should call 311.

—With files from Albert Delitala

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