EDITORIAL: Camper eviction near Keremeos raises questions

Camper eviction near Keremeos by the province raises questions

The recent eviction of the campers on the riverbed outside of Keremeos begs the question – if it was that easy to remove them, why didn’t the province do it sooner?

There are more questions than answers in regards to the issue.

In a story that appeared on the front page of the September 8 paper,  it’s stated the ministry used Section 59 of the Land Act to remove what many in the area, including the editor of this newspaper, would call unwanted campers.

That section lists numerous reasons people could be evicted from Crown Land including occupying, possessing, using Crown Land without lawful authority.

Lawful authority is not clearly defined and unfortunately the Review has not been able to reach the ministry’s spokesperson for clarification.

It’s a strange circumstance.

Not the not being able to reach a provincial spokesperson – that happens to members of the media all the time – but that Natural Resource Officers could so easily use that act at the end of summer but as far as we know did not use that same resource at any point earlier in the season.

Why didn’t they use it sooner so that village folk might have been able to use the river in that area this summer?

That’s one of those questions we’d like an answer to.

Why didn’t they use it in years prior, so the issue of the unwelcome campers could have been packed away as easily as a pop up tent before it even became a community dividing issue?

That’s another one.

And why, if this regulation was used the way it was legally intended, has the village council of today and years past spent so much time thinking of ways to deal with the issue when the province had the answer all along?

So much time wasted and so many people upset for too many years when it was as easy as issuing a trespass notice and then returning several days later to remove campers from the area.

That of course is – if it was a legal eviction.

That’s the biggest question of all.

T.B.

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