A heavy police presence was station at Goldstream Provincial Park ahead of the 11 a.m. eviction deadline. (Camp Namegans Nation Facebook)

Tent city campers now allowed to stay in B.C. provincial park

Contrary to earlier reports, Ministry of Environment says there is no deadline for campers to leave Greater Victoria camp site

Members of Namegans Nation, the roving tent city facing eviction from Greater Victoria’s Goldstream Provincial Park Thursday morning have been told they can stay, according to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

Confusion around campers being given a 24-hour notice to vacate was “unfortunately stated by a BC Parks staffer,” said David Karn, media relations for the ministry.

“The province has no deadline in place for the homeless campers out at Goldstream,” Karn added.

While the campground will remain open to the public for day use, it will be closed to overnight guests, Karn said. That decision was made following concerns expressed by local RCMP to ensure public safety. People with reservations will get a refund.

“The park act allows for a closure,” Karn said, though the ministry is not currently aware of any disturbances in the campground over the past 24 hours.

Outreach teams are there working with them on supports including shelter and housing, Karn added.

READ MORE: Saanich offers land for housing for the homeless

According to Const. Matt Baker of the West Shore RCMP, there have already been reports of criminal activity and drug use in the area over the past two days.

“We’ve got reports of recovered stolen vehicles, there have been reports of drug use at the park,” Baker said. “There’s also been recovery of an individual that had a warrant as well.”

According to Langford Mayor Stew Young, his office has received more than 100 emails and phone calls from concerned residents.

“In 24 hours, we’ve had more police incidents in that area than we’ve had all year,” Young said. “This is a problem and the public has a reason to be concerned … Drugs and open drug use is not going to be allowed, I don’t care where you are, that is the law and the RCMP will do their job. We’re not doing anything different than we normally would.”

Young said Langford has spent at least $15,000 a day to manage the camping at Goldstream Park since Camp Namegans Nation moved in Sept. 18.

READ MORE: Langford mayor upset with province over homeless camp

Those affiliated with Camp Namegans held a protest rally at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, ahead of the directive to evict all campers from the park at 11 a.m.

Young asked the public not to go to the campground.

“Stay away from there, let the police do their job,” Young said, adding the city does not have the resources to manage the situation. “As the mayor, I’m telling the public do not go to Goldstream Park.”

READ MORE: Police block entrance to Goldstream Park, tent city campers forced to leave

He called for the provincial government to create a rapid response team on the ground and co-ordinate the ministries of housing and health.

The resources, Young said, should take the strain off the municipalities.

In a post on the group’s Facebook page, Camp Namegans said, “the BC NDP’s continued use of police force to break the spirit of Namegans Nation sends a clear message: Indigenous and working class people who politicize their survival and protest the gross negligence of all levels of government in addressing the deepening crisis of homelessness will be banished to physical and social invisibility.”

Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing provided a statement to Black Press that noted Goldstream Park was not an appropriate place to establish a tent city, and urged those staying at Goldstream to work with staff to identify better housing solutions.

She stated that provincial resources were being deployed to work with campers in the coming days to assess and provide supports for longer-term solutions, and referenced the early opening of a 25-space shelter at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre.

The District of Saanich also announced they’re offering land near the Municipal Hall to build modular supportive housing for those experiencing, or at risk of homelessness.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

BC Wildfire Service responding to two new fires in the South Cariboo

The fires are located at Drewry Lake and Greeny Lake

Highway 1 south of Ashcroft reopened to singe lane, alternating traffic

Vehicle incident early in the day closed the highway at Venables Valley Road

West Fraser announces the permanent closure of Chasm sawmill

The third shift for the 100 Mile House location will also be eliminated

Did you watch the Toronto Raptors win the NBA?

Did you watch the Toronto Raptors win the NBA?… Continue reading

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Slain friend motivates rookie football player to make it with hometown B.C. Lions

Jaylen Sandhu, stabbed to death in 2014, a source of inspiration for promising RB Jamel Lyles

Home care for B.C.’s elderly is too expensive and falls short: watchdog

Report says seniors must pay $8,800 a year for daily visits under provincial home support program

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Pair of B.C. cities crack Ashley Madison’s ‘Infidelity Hotlist’

Data from the website reveals Abbotsford and Kelowna hottest spots for cheaters

Life’s work of talented B.C. sculptor leads to leukemia

Former Salmon Arm resident warns of dangers of chemical contact

Billboard posted along B.C.’s Highway of Tears to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women

Billboards featuring Indigenous artwork to be placed in Surrey, Kamloops and near Prince George

Federal cabinet ministers visit Edmonton, Calgary, in wake of TMX approval

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi is set to visit Trans Mountain Corp.’s terminal in Edmonton

B.C. municipality prepares to forbid overnight camping by homeless despite court ruling

While courts have ruled against blanket bans, Langley City is employing a site-by-site approach

Most Read