Victoria council will allow people sheltering in parks to stay there 24-7 until more direction is received from the provincial health officer. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Campers allowed to stay in Beacon Hill Park for now

Victoria council continues to defer enforcement of bylaw requiring campers to pack up each morning

The City of Victoria will allow people camping in parks to stay there until council receives further direction from the provincial health officer.

Currently, there are approximately 112 tents or makeshift structures around the city with at least 187 people sheltering outside throughout the pandemic, according to the city’s bylaw department

A rally held outside City Hall on Thursday, organized by members of Victoria’s homeless community, called for the end of the bylaw, which forces unhoused residents to pack up their belongings every morning and set up again each night.

During the June 25 council meeting, a motion from Coun. Geoff Young was opposed by everyone except for him, which called for the end of 24-7 sheltering in parks.

READ ALSO: Rally calls for end to Victoria’s temporary sheltering bylaw

Helps offered an alternative motion that would continue the deferment of the enforcement of the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. bylaw until further advice is given from provincial health officers or Island Health medical officers that updates or changes the direction given on June 8 from the BC Centre for Disease Control in response to homeless encampments and COVID-19.

READ ALSO: Petition demands Victoria ‘save Beacon Hill Park’

“The most difficult times define us as a community, not the good times and it is heartbreaking to see such vitriol coming the way of staff, coming the way of council, and particularly citizen-on-citizen, and I think we can do better on this as a community,” said Helps.

All councillors, except for Young, voted in favour of the motion.


 

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