A growing number of individuals living out of their vehicles have appeared in Central Saanich, according to municipal police.
“With the homeless population being displaced from parking down in Victoria, especially on Dallas Road, we are seeing an influx of people from downtown [Victoria] to Island View [Beach Regional Park] trying to camp down there in their vehicles,” said Sgt. Paul Brailey of Central Saanich Police.
Brailey said police started to notice that pattern about two weeks ago, with anywhere between five and six vehicles trying to park overnight.
“We like to remind people that there is no parking down there between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.,” he said. “So we are now moving those people on as well. We are not looking to get an influx of people living out of their vehicles in Island View.”
The park does include designated camping sites, but they are currently not open. “There is no camping at this time of the year, and there is no camping anywhere but the campsites during the evening hours,” said Brailey.
Central Saanich Police have also seen a number of people sleeping in their cars while parked in the Keating Road industrial area. “It’s a struggle for these people, and I realize that they don’t have anywhere to go,” said Brailey. “And for the most part, they are being respectful, but there aren’t a lot of facilities around in this area as far as washrooms and that goes.”
When asked about the demographics of these individuals, Brailey said they cover the entire range.
“It’s from teens to people in their 60s,” he said. “So it is a very, very large array of people, who are obviously experiencing homelessness. Instead of camping on the road, they are camping in their vehicles.”
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