In 2016

Camp cleanups cost Township taxpayers $130,000 in 2016

Langley’s tally well below Surrey total; $40,000 less than Abbotsford

The Township of Langley spent $130,000 on homeless camp cleanups in 2016.

The figure was released in a report to council Jan. 30.

The City of Abbotsford, by contrast, spent $170,000 and the City of Surrey spent $400,000 between January and September, 2016.

According to the report, there are currently two bylaw officers, working in collaboration with the RCMP, who patrol areas known to have camps at least twice per week.

When found, the camps are assessed for possible public health and safety concerns, vandalism, environmental or infrastructure concerns and adequate waste disposal.

Officers will ask the occupants to remove their belongings, and can provide outreach information to individuals when needed.

Other Township departments, such as public works engineering and parks operations, may then be called in to assist with cleanup.

The report also notes that two out of the five bylaw enforcement officers employed in the Township are assigned to homeless camp cleanups, meaning a reduction in other service areas where there are often public complaints, such as parking, illegal dumping and secondary suites.

The Township may also look into hiring external contractors to help with cleanup, as is done in both Abbotsford and Surrey.