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

Starvation claims Great Blue Heron in Crofton

No other contributing factors found in death during a necropsy

UPDATE: Two dead after fishing boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Alf Todd on a mission to fight Parkinson’s disease

Todd and group hope to raise $10,000 riding bikes to Port Alberni

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

More charges laid against man accused of killing Red Deer doctor in walk-in clinic

Appearing before a judge, Deng Mabiour, 54, rambled about being sick and needing a doctor

Teen killer Kelly Ellard gets day parole extension, allowing up to 5 days at home

Ellard is serving a life sentence for the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk

Andrew Scheer likely marking last day in House of Commons as Opposition leader

Today’s Commons sitting is one of two scheduled for August

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Lower Mainland woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Most Read