An encampment off Ridgeview Road in Cranbrook. (Photo City of Cranbrook)

An encampment off Ridgeview Road in Cranbrook. (Photo City of Cranbrook)

Cranbrook’s no-camping bylaw comes into effect

The City of Cranbrook’s new No Camping Bylaw is now in effect following adoption by Council at their regular meeting on Monday night, July 10.

The new bylaw is a tool which prohibits all camping in certain locations, like designated City parks or around creeks, as examples. However, the bylaw does not prohibit some temporary sheltering for homeless individuals in other locations.

It also allows for the taking down of tents and other temporary shelters during the day.

For homeless individuals, this new bylaw does not prohibit temporary overnight shelters in some public locations in the City.

A statement from the City of Cranbrook said the bylaw is in line with a number of court decisions which have historically indicated that homeless individuals should be allowed to put up some temporary overnight shelters, depending on circumstances.

The new bylaw is meant to guide the community going forward regarding how the City and its operations will manage homeless camps.

In the City’s previous media release on the proposed No Camping bylaw issued on June 26, 2023, we identified that a homeless camp can be taken down during the daytime but that this option many only be done in the summer and not in the winter. That statement was incorrect. The new bylaw authorizes a homeless camp to be taken down during the daytime and any time of the year.

“We considered a lot of options, and this was the best route for the City to take given the amount of tents that are presently appearing in numerous parts of the City,” said Paul Heywood, Manager of Building and Bylaw Services. “We are being supportive of their plight and recognizing their legal rights, while respecting our citizen’s use of public spaces.”

The City said that the benefits of theno camping bylaw will allow numerous areas of Cranbrook to be protected from encampments and look to reduce the number of tents overall. Other benefits may include a reduced population of individuals ‘living rough’ as more of them will seek proper shelter and accommodations that would allow them to store their belongings.