Walmart parking lot turned into homeless camp
Kent Molgat and Kendra Mangione, CTV Vancouver
Published Wednesday, August 31, 2016 5:33PM PDT
Litter is accumulating in a Walmart parking lot in Kelowna because people aren't just using it to park their RVs overnight anymore.
Vehicles of all kinds fill the lot outside the big box store on Green Avenue, packed with the worldly possessions of people calling the Walmart home.
Walmarts typically allow campers passing through the area to spend the night in their lots. Electrical service and washrooms are not available, but RVs can stay for one night free of charge.
But in Kelowna, the parking lot has become a small campground, and is home to people who feel like they have nowhere else to go.
Billy Zvada, a homeless man currently parked in the lot, was asked why he hasn't moved to an apartment.
"This is the only way I can manage to survive," he told CTV News on Wednesday.
People like Zvada are living in their vehicles, driving from lot to lot looking for a place to stay. Steve Sirois is also living in the parking lot, and says he has a job but it doesn't pay well enough to cover rent.
Though the makeshift campground has brought relief to a group without homes, some customers have started to notice the trash left behind by the lot's occupants.
"These guys are just taking a little bit of advantage and it's catching up with them," shopper Tina Van Den Eerenbeempt said.
"They had their tables out and just garbage everywhere."
While CTV News was visiting the parking lot, one of its residents took it upon himself to pick up some of the trash left behind.
Walmart camper Cynthia LeTourneau said the situation isn't ideal, but she's happy that the company allows people to use its lot.
"Even if they're living in their cars, it's better than living in the street," she said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Kent Molgat