A Very Short UpDate on Victoria Tent City

by rose
2008.10.16 - 11:51 PM

Now the next chapter is: where do the homeless go. The city of Victoria has just reinforced the by-law that restricts the hours a park is to be used. So the homeless are being forced to pack up their gear at 7am and the cannot unpack their gear until 9pm, if they are staying in at park.

Apparently the bylaw enforcement officers are going to be at the site by 7am to witness a free breakfast and to make sure the the homeless are not using a BBQ or anything else illegal to cook their food. Apparently this court case is topping everyones list. Even topping the federal election fallout discussions.
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CFAX radio poll results:

There was 638 participants in this poll and this is the break down of the community's response:
Answer Votes %

1-Appeal it immediately. It is an outrageous conclusion 437 68%

2-Live with it. What else can the city do? 22 3%

3-Desinate a tent city area. At least that way you have some containment and control 179 28%

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So the city officials are disgruntal and once again the homeless are being pushed around but this time with the courts on their side. So have things really changed since the new law...?
Here is what is being written in today's TC:

Victoria slaps time limit on campers in city parks
Homeless allowed to camp only between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Bill Cleverley
Canwest News Service

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A fledgling tent city at Beacon Hill Park has grown in two days from five tents to almost a dozen with a communal tarp area.
CREDIT: Debra Brash, Times Colonist
A fledgling tent city at Beacon Hill Park has grown in two days from five tents to almost a dozen with a communal tarp area.

Homeless campers will be allowed to erect tents in city of Victoria parks, but they won't be permitted to turn the shelters into permanent homes, city councillors have decided.

Acting Mayor Dean Fortin ( Deean Fortin is currently running for mayor in Victoria) announced Thursday the city's plan to deal with a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that said in the absence of sufficient safe and secure beds for the homeless, it is unconstitutional for the city to prevent them from erecting shelter to protect themselves from the elements.

The city plans to appeal the court decision, but until the appeal is heard which could take more than a year the city has adopted a bylaw enforcement policy that will allow homeless to erect and use tents in parks only between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

At 7 a.m. a person using a tent in a park will be asked to dismantle it and move on. If they refuse, the city will dismantle the tent and remove it.

The policy, which will be in effect at all times when the number of homeless in Victoria exceeds the number of available shelter beds, restricts the erecting and use of temporary shelters in public spaces to homeless persons. It prohibits cooking, campfires and fire pits in parks, and will not allow tents or temporary shelters to be erected on streets, sidewalks and boulevards.

"We're looking as business as usual with the understanding that we have to allow camping in parks," Fortin said Thursday.

"We're going to ensure, on behalf of the residents of Victoria that we're taking care of children's playgrounds, sports fields and sensitive ecosystems. We must protect those parts of parks but at the same time follow the judgment."

Fortin said it could take a year before the appeal is heard and no telling how long it would be after that for a decision. He said the interim policy is making the best of a bad situation.

"Citizens should expect that this will be an evolving process over the next coming days and weeks but in the interim we will not allow open season in all our parks and all our public spaces."

Fortin said phone lines at city hall "have lit up like Christmas trees" with residents of Victoria and the surrounding area concerned about the ruling's potential to turn parks into tent cities.

"They're not happy campers," Fortin said, seemingly unaware of his choice of words. "Not only that, our phone lines are lit up from municipalities across the region and across the province. Frankly, we're getting calls from back East. This is a big issue. We understand that in Vancouver, right now there's a tent city being set up in the front of city hall."

The city has scheduled a meeting with the provincial Housing Ministry to look for long-term solutions.

At Beacon Hill Park yesterday afternoon, where a fledgling tent city has grown in two days from five tents to almost a dozen with a communal tarp area, people seemed somewhat surprised and dismayed that following Tuesday's court ruling, the city wasn't going to sit back and let them dig in.

"I think it's just another test to see how we'll react," said a woman who would only identify herself as Kathmandu who said she is "homeless, part time."

"I'm only just off the street. I'm here as a gofer; a supply girl."

"It's another abuse from the system. We can't stop poverty. There will be more homeless all the time," said a man who would only identify himself as Rejean also a supporter of the camp but not, himself, currently homeless.

"Maybe the politicians should pack up their homes and take them with them during the day," said James, a man who was sleeping at the park encampment.

Fernwood resident Bryan Lyle, who happened by the camp yesterday, said the city should take its policy a step further; designate areas where homeless can camp and provide them with some basic facilities like washrooms.

"There's vacant lots. There's places downtown."

bcleverley@tc.canwest.com

Comments

rose on 2008.10.17

Take the risk

rpm53 on 2008.10.17

gordon campbell's war on the poor and his agenda to make b.c. a place for the rich and for rich foreigners who can afford the ridiculously unaffordable rents is definately heating up. I hope when the next election comes some of the homeless and poor people will remember to help vote that bastard out of office.

Vicar_Apostolic on 2008.10.23

If the homeless and working poor voted.Rose would have been elect...I am also running....This time I m asking all who supported me 2002 (1600 votes) and 2005 only 800 votes would vote for Rose

Lafouesourie on 2008.10.23

When did a shelter has the policy to react on a mayer's duty.

rose on 2008.11.08

When the city lost its own court case to the homeless.
Take the risk

johnshantelle2008 on 2013.11.11

Business will grow because of the people who managed them. However, not all of them were given the chance to make it work. - YOR Health

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