It's moving day for dozens of tent city residents in Langley
Bylaw officers and police are moving campers from Nicomekl Park to a nearby shelter
Bylaw officers descended on a homeless camp in Langley Tuesday morning and went from tent to tent, telling people it was time to leave.
The campers were able to put many of their personal items in storage, while everything else was loaded up on trucks and hauled away.
City of Langley Mayor Ted Schaffer says the campers have been offered a place to stay at a nearby shelter.
"The Gateway of Hope and B.C. Housing have funding for 30 temporary mats," he said.
"It's a temporary solution for now and, of course, as a council, we're always lobbying to get something in the area by the way of an all-encompassing facility."
Where to next?
Janis Sanders, who has lived at the camp since late August, hopes to move into the shelter tonight with her dog, Isabella.
"They told us that they're going to start a pet program, because police officers and bylaw officers went and talked to them on our behalf," she said.
Sanders is grateful that she can keep her dog, but she says the region needs more affordable housing to keep people off the street.
"The only thing that's going to help the situation in Langley is single-dwelling occupancies," she said.
"If we had single occupancy, we would have half as many people on the street as we do. Not everybody wants to be homeless."
Leith White, a pastor at Friends of Langley Vineyard Church, says the tent city has served a purpose, but it can't stay where it is in Nicomekl Park.
He says the area floods every year, and the site will soon be underwater.
"It's not ideal, but I think it's offered us a starting point to work with them," he said.
Funding for the temporary mat program runs out in mid-March, and Schaffer says a long-term solution is needed.
"I think that everybody realizes that something has to be done, but it's just a matter of dollars and cents and, of course, the nimbyism that's out there too," he said.
Schaffer says his office has been flooded with complaints about the camp, and the city has spent nearly $250,000 on vandalism and homelessness-related issues so far this year.