Winter blast hits Regina’s ‘Camp Hope’ tent city as move indoors not finalized

Click to play video: 'Camp Hope making ‘last push’ as winter weather arrives'
Camp Hope making ‘last push’ as winter weather arrives
WATCH: Camp Hope organizer Alysia Johnson says the snow and wind are causing damages to many of the tents housing camp residents. More cold, snowy weather is forecasted for Regina. Connor O'Donovan has more on the City's plans to move the camp indoors – Nov 11, 2021

Saskatchewan’s recent blast of winter weather is taking a toll on the residents and organizers of Camp Hope (formerly known as Camp Marjorie) in Regina.

It has them counting down the days until a planned move indoors can be completed.

“When we walked through camp this morning, we noticed a lot just didn’t survive the weather we’re having right now,” said organizer and Carmichael Outreach board chair, Alysia Johnson.

“Maintaining the integrity of the structure of the tents — the wind really does a number on them. You get lots of rips and lots of tears.”

More wind and snow are in the forecast for Regina over the next week. Global News

Johnson says her main concern with the inclement weather, aside from the obvious danger of the cold, is that some residents who may leave camp for a night to stay in a hotel or other indoor shelter might come back to find the place they’ve made their home is gone.

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“It definitely is our last push,” she said, thanking the community of local non-profits and volunteers who have come together to help operate the camp thus far.

“We’re trying to remain hopeful. We’re trying to buy as much time as we possibly can.”

Many of the camp’s tents are are ripped and torn, or have collapsed due to the wind and snowfall. Connor O'Donovan / Global News

After multiple requests in recent weeks, the City of Regina confirmed Monday that it had signed a lease to secure a temporary indoor location for the camp.

The specific location, as well as a date at which the building will be move-in ready, are yet to be disclosed.

“The timeline is ever-shrinking,” Regina Mayor Sandra Masters said Wednesday.

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“I can tell you we have signed a lease. We do have some of the operating agreements in place. And right now the last pieces of operational, everything from security to WIFI and telephone, dividers up, the actual organization to make sure things are safe, we’re really close.”

Regina Treaty Status Indian Services, which has agreed to help operate the camp when it moves indoors, posted a number of 6-month job openings Thursday, with application deadlines of November 12. Facebook: First nations Employment Centre

“It would be lovely to have a couple extra tents,” she said of what could help Camp Hope make it through that last push.

“Especially as people are at the end of their hotel stays, that would be great for them to come back to something and not to an empty spot.”

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