Large encampment along Highway 97 near Penticton to be cleared – Okanagan

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A well-known and quite large encampment just north of Penticton, B.C., could be cleared out in the coming days.

John Tanghe started the encampment along Highway 97. Since then, it has grown substantially as many other people began frequenting the area.

“I’ve been there for over two years. I call it home and I really don’t know what I am going to do,” said Tanghe.

“I’ve been there because I can’t find housing. I don’t want to go to the shelter because it’s like a jail, and they got so many rules.”

Click to play video: 'Concerns grow for unhoused population amid heat'

Concerns grow for unhoused population amid heat

Piles and piles of garbage and items have been brought to the encampment over the years, including multiple beds, bikes as well as bins of clothes and toys.

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“There’s only three of us living there. There’s me, my friend and her boyfriend. But it looks like the tribe or like a little village or something lives here,” said Tanghe.

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“But I made it look like that, just so they think people are there.”

The encampment is right above the highway and surrounded by bush, which has sparked some concern, especially as wildfire season approaches.

Just last year, crews responded to a large fire at the camp that could be seen from across the lake.

Click to play video: 'Homeless camp dangerous according to fire chief'

Homeless camp dangerous according to fire chief

The encampment is located outside of the City of Penticton’s jurisdiction and falls under the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

According to RCMP, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure had planned to start clearing out the encampment on Monday but delayed those plans for safety reasons amid the heat warning.

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“The paper said they were coming on the 8th, so I sat out there and melted all day waiting for them and no one came,” said Tanghe.

“I don’t know where to take my stuff. That’s why I am in town right now because I have to figure out where to take my stuff.”

It’s unclear when or if the ministry or other local officials will return to clear out the encampment.

Global News has reached out to the Ministry of Transportation for more information.

Click to play video: 'Major cleanup of remote homeless camp continues in Penticton, B.C.'

Major cleanup of remote homeless camp continues in Penticton, B.C.

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