Property owner Sam Seera stands firm by his deadline to have campers out today because he said neighbours are complaining.
Ten days after leaving Goldstream Provincial Park campground, homeless campers are packing their belongings in preparation to move once again, this time from Seera’s private residence in Saanich. His tenant, mayoral candidate David Shebib, had offered approximately 20 campers a place to stay in his yard after their two-week setup in Goldstream Provincial Park.
Chrissy Brett, a homelessness advocate and leader of Camp Namegans, the roving tent city that has made its way around the CRD over the last year, said she doesn’t know where their next destination will be.
“We haven’t decided, until the last minute, where we’ll go,” Brett said on the morning of Oct. 12. “I think we may be continuously chased from place to place by police and municipalities choosing to waste a lot of money on things like that instead of trailers or actual housing.”
The campers expect to leave the property at 5090 West Saanich Road this evening. Brett said she is picking up the trailer Friday afternoon. The camp originally planned on having trailers the day before to pack their belongings, but couldn’t arrange a truck in time and are now packing in hopes of leaving this evening or by Saturday morning. Brett asked Seera for an extension so they could set up at their next location in daylight, but he said no.
If they are still on his property on Saturday, Seera said he would be very angry and would no longer support or work with the campers.
— Keili Bartlett (@KeiliBartlett) October 12, 2018
There are approximately 25 people still with the group, with around 15 people staying in the Saanich camp at any given time, she said. They want to stay together, because of the sense of community, family and safety Brett said can’t be found at “supportive housing that aren’t supportive at all.”
The 10-day stay in Saanich has been a good break for the campers to relax and regroup, Brett said, adding they are thankful to the property owner for his help.
The landowner, Seera says he has spent $1,250 on the campers to date – $250 to rent a trailer to remove belongings, $600 for a port-a-potty and $400 for food. He’s unsure what kind of cleanup costs he faces once they move today.
“I think it was a shock to all of us that a private landowner has more compassion and ability to communicate with us than the provincial government or municipality,” Brett said.