Residents want homeless camps and flood debris cleared from Elbow Island Park
Head of Rideau Roxboro Community Association envisions a bird sanctuary on the small island
Residents of an inner-city community say it's time a city park in their neighbourhood got some attention.
The Rideau Roxboro Community Association says damage on Elbow Island Park from the 2013 flood still hasn't been fixed and it's a regular campsite for homeless people.
Elbow Island Park is located in the middle of the Elbow River, under the Mission Bridge at Fourth Street S.W.
"It's basically an over-run, weed-infested, muddy island," said James Maxim, the head of the community association.
Walking through the park, he points out three homeless camps, with human waste and broken bottles scattered about.
Natural areas invite 'social disorder'
Maxim says four years after the floods, it's time to clean up the fallen trees and gravel bars. He envisions the park turning into a bird sanctuary, a place where people would want to visit.
The city councillor the area, Gian-Carlo Carra, says planners prefer to keep such green spaces in a natural state, but that can pose some challenges.
"Unfortunately it makes it very difficult to see encampments and social disorder and criminal activities taking place, so we've got to balance those two things and we're having that conversation with the community association and the parks department," he said.
Until any decisions are made, Carra says people can help the city by reporting homeless camps so that Calgary's Partner Agency Liaison (PAL) team — consisting of bylaw officers, other city workers and external social agencies — can deal with the situation.
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