'It's bittersweet': Regina's tent village expected to be decommissioned by end of week
Camp Hope, Regina’s tent village currently set up in Core Community Park, is expected to be decommissioned by the end of the week.
Alysia Johnson, a camp volunteer and organizer, said the tentative plan is for the camp to stop operating in its original capacity on Friday. Those experiencing homelessness have been living in the park for more than one month.
“It is time for organizers to pass the torch and we can only hope that the city and any third parties involved are ready and prepared,” Johnson said. “It’s bittersweet. This is a really tough time. There’s a lot of work to be done. By no means do we want to just wash our hands of this and walk away. We’ve poured our hearts into this and the community has stood behind us far more than we could have imagined.”
On Monday the City of Regina released a statement saying it has signed a lease for an indoor location for camp residents.
In an email on Tuesday, the City of Regina said it had no further comment on the situation.
Camp organizers said they don’t know when camp residents will be able to move into the indoor location being provided by the city.
“[After Friday] some volunteers will remain on site, on and off as needed, to ensure that no one tears down any tents and gives people the boot with no where to go,” Johnson explained. “Residents must be consulted as the experts in their own experience, and understand what safe and viable options they have.”
Gavin Siggelkow, a volunteer and resident at the camp, said the announcement of an indoor location is a move in the right direction but there are still many unanswered questions.
“I don’t know what their plan is,” he said. “Is there going to be employees there that do the same thing that the volunteers here do? This is more than a tent city here, it’s a safe consumption site.”
He said multiple lives have been saved at the camp because of consistent monitoring by volunteers.
“In [the new facility] is there going to be people to check on them? To make those phone calls?” Siggelkow said. “It makes me happy, I’m excited to see about it but there are so many unknowns.”
Until the camp is taken down, weather conditions continue to be a concern for Camp Hope. One of the biggest obstacles in the cold is keeping Narcan from freezing.
“You want to make sure that if you have to deliver that to someone who’s experiencing an overdose, you of course want to make sure it’s not frozen,” Johnson said. “That’s one example that literally puts life on the line.”
With the days at camp potentially winding down, Siggelkow said he’s feeling mixed emotions.
“It’s only been a little over 30 days but a lot of people here are seeing a lot of changes. There’s camaraderie,” he said. “They’re all friends helping each other out.”
Organizers said any remaining supplies that are still at camp by the end of the week will be donated to other community organizations.