Parksville society told to stop feeding homeless in city-owned parking lot
There's a battle brewing over a homeless outreach program in Parksville.
The Manna Homeless Society has been working in the community for more than a decade, but now it's being asked to move by the city.
The organization has been camping out at a parking lot on Jensen Street every Saturday for an hour-and-a-half, offering services from food to health care.
But the city is asking the society to take its services elsewhere. The organizer believes it's because the lot is becoming a bit of a permanent location for the homeless.
The city issued a statement saying it supports Manna's efforts to feed the homeless, but the area has become a safety issue due to clean-up challenges.
"Let's say those five or six tents hadn't shown up there and those people weren't doing what they were doing, they wouldn't have paid any attention to Manna," said society founder Robin Campbell. "What the city has done is they're new, the mayor's new, the council's new, and they've come in and they got in in the election on 'we're going to clean up homelessness.'"
Several public complaints have been lodged because of the debris in the city-owned lot.
A cease-and-desist order was issued due to specialized clean-up needed at the spot, indicating a needle problem.
Manna is complying while it tries to get a meeting with the city.