A screenshot of the Facebook post taking credit for the refuse that was dumped outfront of Sechelt Municipal hall. Jordan Copp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A Sechelt resident reached their limit and took it upon himself to clean up what appeared to be an encampment set up by unhoused people — and proceeded to dump it outside of Sechelt Municipal Hall.

Visitors of the Sechelt Municipal Hall were in for a surprise on Thursday morning when they were greeted by several filled garbage bags sitting outside the front door.

The bags had a cardboard sign saying, “Wake up Sechelt!” and used hypodermic needles attached.

On Aug. 23 at 10:30 p.m., a Facebook post from an account named Antoine Lamine’man took credit for the incident, and displayed a number of pictures and videos of the bags left outside the municipal hall, as well as the area that the refuse was gathered from. The post quickly caught traction the following morning. 

In an interview with Coast Reporter, Lamine’man said he had been living on the Coast for two years, and recently moved into a new neighbourhood where he regularly finds refuse near his property.  

“I’m just walking my dog five times a week, I run into needles in the grass area around our place. And it’s not cool when you have dogs or when you have kids walking around, they want to enjoy these areas,” he said.

Lamine’man spent an hour cleaning up the encampment in downtown Sechelt before packing it all away. He said his intention was to raise awareness and bring attention to the issue that he says is only getting worse. 

“I found countless numbers of needles, crack pipes, all kinds of stuff to do drugs,” said Lamine’man. “Every citizen has a role to play in avoiding waste and pollution while protecting Canada’s national commercial architectural heritage for future generations.”

Since the posting, Lamine’man has changed his name on Facebook to Antoine Poul’man.

Sechelt Councillor Brenda Rowe said that BC Housing’s Sechelt shelter, under renovation because of fire-related damage, is expected to reopen by October. “That’s going to relocate a good number of the people that are currently unhoused,” she said. 

Coun. Rowe explained that social housing falls under the jurisdiction of the provincial government, but said the municipality is trying to find ways to support the unhoused population through its safety committee.

Rowe advocated that community education on the unhoused population is vital and that people experiencing homelessness receive a high amount of stigma.

“Everyone thinks that the unhoused as young, drug-addicted people, but in actual fact, I think about 23 per cent of our unhoused are actually seniors.”

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

By Jordan Copp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 28, 2023 at 12:43

This item reprinted with permission from   Coast Reporter   Sechelt, British Columbia

Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated