Protest outside Port Alberni shelter faces police action, says organizer

Eric Plummer, October 28, 2020

Graham Hughes stands with others outside of the Port Alberni Shelter Society's Our Home on Eighth Wednesday, after hearing from police earlier in the day that that protest encampment would be removed. (Eric Plummer photos)

Port Alberni, BC — 

On the fifth day of protest, a group of tents had collected outside of the Port Alberni Shelter Society’s facility on eighth Avenue Wednesday afternoon.

But with the RCMP detachment across the field, the future of the encampment was uncertain after a message came from police earlier in the day that protesters would be removed, said the event’s organizer Graham Hughes.

Hughes, who recently ran as an independent in this fall’s provincial election, led the initiative with an online petition stating a broad range of allegations against the shelter’s management and operations.

The Shelter Society previously stated that it is lawfully required to protect the safety of those in its facilities by restricting access to people who pose a threat. But on Wednesday the non-profit declined to comment on the protest, as the society is currently seeking legal action.

The Port Alberni Shelter Society offers a wide range of services to those in need, including 30 supportive housing units on 8th Avenue, 23 emergency beds, transitional housing, a four-bed sobering centre for those under the influence of drugs or alcohol and long-term supportive housing. The society also operates the Overdose Prevention Site on 3rd Avenue seven days a week, and runs a farm south of Port Alberni.

More to come…

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