Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour said a First Nation man died at The Mound, one of five temporary tenting sites for the homeless set up in the Cowichan Valley, on June 26. (File photo)

Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour said a First Nation man died at The Mound, one of five temporary tenting sites for the homeless set up in the Cowichan Valley, on June 26. (File photo)

Man dies at temporary Duncan tent site for homeless

First Nations man died at The Mound site

There has been another death at one of the temporary tenting areas for the homeless set up in the Cowichan Valley.

A statement from Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour said a band member died on June 26 at the tenting site on Government Street known as The Mound, which is owned by the Cowichan Tribes.

Seymour didn’t identify the man, or say how he died, in his statement.

“He felt safe here [at the tent site], instead of on the streets,” Seymour said.

“He was looking forward to moving into a hotel or home. He was always respectful and tried to visit his family as much as he could, especially his father. He always acknowledged people, he was very helpful, and always had a smile on his face. I send my condolences to the families in sorrow.”

The Mound is one of five temporary tent sites established in May to allow those that are homeless or precariously housed in the Valley to shelter-in-place with the appropriate food and other services during the COVID-19 crisis.

RELATED STORY: SHORT-TERM PLAN IN PLACE FOR COWICHAN VALLEY’S HOMELESS DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

Chris Macdonald, 43, died in his tent at the tent site at Fuller Lake Park last month.

RELATED STORY: MAN FOUND DEAD IN HIS TENT AT CHEMAINUS HOMELESS CAMP

Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples, who is a member of the COVID-19 Task Force for Vulnerable Populations, said the deaths at the tent sites are “horrible”, but acknowledged that deaths are not unusual among the homeless community.

“Before we established the tent sites, there were a number of deaths among the homeless in the community, but at least we know where they are now and the tent sites allow us the opportunity to work with these people to try to make a difference in their lives and give them some stability,” she said.

“Overall, things are going well at the tent sites and we’re having a lot of successes with the people there. We’re also getting a lot of positive feedback from the community in general.”

BC Housing and Emergency Management BC provided the funding to establish the COVID-19 Task Force for Vulnerable Populations in May with a mandate to develop short-term plans to provide housing and support for Cowichan Valley’s homeless during the health crisis.

The task force, which the City of Duncan was asked to organize, includes representatives from service organizations, Island Health, local governments, First Nations, school district, health care professionals, community members, and peer representatives.

RELATED STORY: COVID-19 COWICHAN HOMELESS PLAN GETS FINANCIAL BACKING

The task force was given enough funding to cover the costs of the tent sites until June 30, but Staples said that funding has been extended for two more weeks.

“We’re trying to work out what is possible,” she said.

“We have 107 people at the five sites and we’re concerned about what will happen to them if we put them back on the streets. We’re also still likely just at the beginning of this pandemic so the need for these sites is still there.”

After years of advocacy from the Valley’s local governments and other agencies, construction is expected to begin this fall on approximately 100 supportive housing units for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in the Cowichan Valley.

BC Housing has acquired two sites — 2983 Drinkwater Rd. in North Cowichan and 260 White Rd. in Duncan — to develop what the agency describes as “safe, secure housing with wraparound supports”.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. [CDC]
Lake Cowichan daycare closes for 10 days due to COVID-19 exposure

A client at Creative Angels Daycare came in contact with someone who tested positive

(Pxhere)
Mill Bay nurse suspended after using Tensor bandage to trap long-term care patient in room

Susan Malloch voluntarily agreed to a three-day suspension of her certificate of registration

Cullen Ferguson has left the Cowichan Valley Capitals to play with the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Capitals say goodbye to Ferguson and Richter

The Caps traded another Union College commit away last week

Handwashing is one of the important COVID-19 precautions. (File photo)
Editorial: Time to knuckle down on COVID precautions

It would be foolish to think that we have not had any COVID cases in Cowichan until now

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns after searing report into workplace culture: reports

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

RCMP officers provide policing for 63 B.C. municipalities under a provincial formula based on population. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. communities warned of upcoming RCMP unionization costs

Starting salaries for city police officers are 30% higher

Abbotsford’s Skully White (left), who donated his kidney in December, has started a campaign to find other recipients and donors. The first candidate is retired police officer Gavin Quon. White owns and operates a hotdog stand, Lullys Food Experience, out of the Abbotsford Canadian Tire parking lot. (Facebook photo)
After donating his kidney, Abbotsford hotdog king starts donor campaign

Skully White donated his kidney to customer Tim Hiscock in December

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

Most Read