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Encampment “cave” presents unexpected issues


Safety issues and structural concerns were top-of-mind when EPS was alerted of a cave in Edmonton’s River Valley being used for shelter.

“Recently our Sheriff partners found a hole which was covered up by a piece of steel. Under that piece of steel they discovered a cave that had been dug into here and found an occupant living inside,” said Sgt. Serge Soucy.

The cave was about five feet deep and close to 12 feet across.

“Today we've noticed that someone or something has caused it to cave in…Absolutely dangerous,” said Soucy who added no one was in the cave at the time of its demise.

Thankfully, the person previously discovered living in the cave was taken to the Government of Alberta’s Navigation and Support just days before. However, multiple EPS and Edmonton Fire Rescue Services resources were still dispatched to confirm there were no one was injured or buried after the collapse.

Despite this concerning discovery, the EPS has not seen an increase of encampments in Edmonton’s River Valley. The majority of encampments continue to be concentrated in the downtown core and other green spaces around the city, though their size and numbers continue to shrink as more and more occupants are connected to support services, including those for mental health, addictions, and housing.