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Chula Vista council member calls for temporary closure of Harborside Park

Council member John McCann told CBS 8 he will propose a ban on encampments within 500 feet of schools.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Council member John McCann called for the temporary closure of Harborside Park Friday, citing safety concerns.

"The proposal I support is temporarily shutting down the park so we can get rid of the illicit drug use, the trafficking and all of the other challenges of criminal activity that's currently happening in the park, so we can re-plan the park to be used by the Harborside Community," said Council Member McCann. He is also running for mayor. 

He didn't say how long he thinks the closure should last. However, he said it should be left up to the community.

A council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday. McCann said he wants residents to attend the meeting and give feedback on what they think needs to happen at the park.

He also said he's going to propose a ban on homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools, similar to the ban just passed in Los Angeles.

CBS 8 has been Working for You on this story all week. Parents first brought us their concerns because Harborside Elementary is steps away from this encampment. The only thing separating the students playground from the encampment is a chain-linked fence. 

Wednesday police came through and cleared out the park, but the tents returned. 

Also this week, green mesh netting was placed over the fence to try and shield students from the encampment.

Friday CBS 8 counted around 30 tents there. 

Homeless advocates agree the encampment shouldn't be near a school. However, they want to know, where should these unsheltered people go?

"Having people reside in a park where there's no water no restroom, behind a school is not great, this is not helping anyone," said homeless advocate Mindy Lien. 

"This is not helping the parents feel better about sending their children to that school, this is not helping the unsheltered people get off the street, or helping them get the rehab or the resources they need. This is wasting tax dollars," she added.

Tuesday's council meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Chula Vista City Hall.

RELATED: Advocates upset with homeless sweep at Harborside park, parents uneased with location

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Watch Related: Advocates upset with homeless sweep at Harborside Park, parents uneased with location (Aug 17, 2022)

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