Saanich ramps up court action against Regina Park homeless camp
The District of Saanich says it’s filing a lawsuit against the homeless encampment at Regina Park because of fire risk and negative impacts on the neighbourhood.
It’s hoping for an August 13 court date for an injunction in the Supreme Court of B.C.
A release from the District Saanich say they are filing the injunction based on these reasons:
- The continued occupation is contrary to Saanich’s bylaws;
- Saanich has been unable to successful manage life safety in the park due to ongoing fire hazards, and the encampment remains unsafe for the occupants, first responders and others who may visit the park;
- Saanich has been unable to achieve compliance with fire orders issued pursuant to the Fire Services Act;
- The encampment has and continues to negatively impact on the local residential and business community;
- The occupation of the park is not an intended use of the property, and the occupation has prevented other members of the public from using the park; and
- The encampment has placed an enormous burden on Saanich’s financial resources, including required support from the Police, Fire and Parks Departments.
The release also notes that the District is actively exploring options with the provincial government for social housing but says it is not able to develop any on its own right now.
The District says the campers at Regina Park have been asked twice to voluntarily leave Regina Park but that hasn’t worked.
“We are looking for a court injunction for the campers to vacate park during the day, but to still allow those who need to seek shelter the opportunity to be able to set up any of our 100 plus parks excluding natural and conservation areas.” says Mayor Richard Atwell. We are trying to take provide a level of compassion for that. We have also set up a hygiene station behind city hall and so folks experiencing homelessness can wash.”
There’s an estimated 90 people living in the encampment. Campers at the tent city say they are setting up a press conference to address the injunction Wednesday morning at 11a.m.