Mikko Lindroos is desperate for indoor shelter. Not all those who live in Central Park are in agreement, but Lindroos supports a recent letter from the North Park Neighbourhood Association, calling for immediate temporary shelter space for the park’s homeless community. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Mikko Lindroos is desperate for indoor shelter. Not all those who live in Central Park are in agreement, but Lindroos supports a recent letter from the North Park Neighbourhood Association, calling for immediate temporary shelter space for the park’s homeless community. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

BC Housing moves Central Park campers to pavement after residents call for shelter space

Letter calls for temporary shelter spaces at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre

A layer of frost coats the tents in Victoria’s Central Park Tuesday morning and the remains of a Monday snowfall dusts the tarps and structures dotting the park.

Many of the people living there use pallets to keep themselves off the ground, but it doesn’t stop the cold from seeping in.

Mikko Lindroos, a 44-year Victoria resident, has been living in the park since August. He lights candles to keep warm. Currently, the city’s sheltering bylaw prohibits open flame appliances and requires a permit for electricity.

“I have a pinched nerve and arthritis. I’m going blind,” he said. “I need to get inside.”

On Monday the North Park Neighbourhood Association’s board of directors issued a letter to BC Housing and the City of Victoria asking that the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena be used again to provide immediate and temporary indoor housing.

READ ALSO: Save-On-Foods arena transformed into 45-bed shelter for homeless population

“As the weather worsens so do the circumstances for those in Central Park,” the letter reads. “Housed and unhoused residents in and around Central Park are reporting an increase in criminal activity, assaults and declining health conditions that come with living outdoors in the winter in a concentrated encampment.”

The Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena was used as a 45-bed temporary indoor shelter shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic started, but that came to an end in September.

A spokesperson for BC Housing told Black Press Media it recently began discussions on reusing the arena, but that no firm decisions have been made. Instead, it and the City of Victoria are arranging for 45 to 50 people to move from Central Park to the Royal Athletic Park parking lot Tuesday – a paved area that BC Housing says will provide higher, drier ground. The Victoria Fire Department also has a stock of replacement tents and cots that it has offered to campers.

Hundreds of people have been moved to long-term temporary shelters since the pandemic started, thanks to partnerships between the City of Victoria, Island Health and BC Housing, but hundreds remain outdoors.

Lindroos tries to find spaces in Victoria’s overnight shelters, but COVID-19 restrictions limit capacity.

“I’ve been doing this for three years,” Lindroos said. “So I’m getting pretty good at surviving but it’s getting to me. The doctor said it’s going to kill me.”

READ ALSO: Victoria podcasters talk homelessness first-hand


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Greater VictoriaHomelessnessHousing and Homelessness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The North Park Neighbourhood Association says the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena should be used to provide emergency shelter spaces for people living in Central Park. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

The North Park Neighbourhood Association says the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena should be used to provide emergency shelter spaces for people living in Central Park. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Just Posted

The construction zone remains for now at Clover Point, but plans for a new pedestrian zone and partially closed traffic loop were approved by Victoria councillors on Thursday. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria council compromises with partial closure of Clover Point

Option preserves parking 14 spots facing ocean, creates more pedestrian space

(Black Press Media file photo)
Trees Cannabis to reignite downtown Victoria location as licensed store

The dispensary will reopen its 230 Cook St. location on Saturday

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Sergeant Francis Dion with the box containing HMCS Calgary’s new secret mascot costume. (HMCSNCSMCalgary/Facebook)
Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read