The gate to the Goldstream Provincial Park campground remains closed to the public. (Arnold Lim/News staff)

The gate to the Goldstream Provincial Park campground remains closed to the public. (Arnold Lim/News staff)

Lawyer questions rejection of visitors to Goldstream homeless campers

Activist Chrissy Brett says they are still in fear of being kicked out

The gates remain closed at Goldstream Park provincial campground and questions abound about why only some essential health care providers are allowed in to visit the 32 campers who have taken refuge there since being evicted from the Regina Park tent city.

“It’s intense, we have no idea how long we’re here for,” said group organizer Chrissy Brett. “We went from being given a 24-hour notice to 14 days to indefinitely. We keep asking what that means, before or after 14 days, but nobody will answer.”

Goldstream Park is normally open to camping year round but since last week has been closed to all members of the public except for the 32 members of the homeless camp. The group arrived from Saanich on Tuesday, after a four-night stay across from Uptown shopping centre on the land between Carey Road, Ravine Way and Highway 17.

Lindsay Byers, media relations for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said that the park was closed to new campers to ensure safety and that B.C. Parks is ensuring outreach service workers have access to the camp.

“This has included staff from Pacifica Housing, BC Housing and the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction outreach, as well as other non-profit groups providing supports to the campers,” she wrote. “Pacifica Housing has brought in food and other supplies as needed.

Byers also said that everyone inside Goldstream has undergone a vulnerability assessments to identify short and longer-term housing options.

Lawyer John Heaney represented the tent city group against Saanich in court and continues to represent them out of Goldstream Park.

Heaney was permitted in on Sunday and brought food. He said he’s trying to work with the province and persuade them that there isn’t any harm in allowing people to come in to provide support.

“It’s a bit frustrating, no one will identify the person making the decisions of who can go in,” Heaney said. “As a lawyer, my request to speak to someone making these decisions about who is on the list seems like a reasonable question to ask.”

RELATED: West Shore residents hold forum regarding homeless camping at Goldstream

Among those who’ve been turned away were members of the local Pauquachin Nation (one of four W̱SÁNEĆ Nations on the Peninsula) who had brought food, and posted their rebuff in a Facebook video. Brett’s own children visited and weren’t allowed in.

Pastor John Overholt of Encounter Church in Victoria had visited the previous tent city as an outreach pastor since it started at Regina Park, he said.

On Sunday he posted about his attempt to offer spiritual service, only to be turned away.

“I went to [Goldstream Park] today, showed my ministerial credentials but was refused entrance,” Overholt wrote. “I was told that only a few essential services were being permitted to enter. I presume that spiritual support is not one of them. I will return on Tuesday to find out if I will be approved to be put on the list.”

RELATED: Police ready to evict tent city campers from Goldstream campground

On Sunday, Langford Mayor Stew Young met with residents from the neighbourhood at Ma Miller’s Pub.

Young asked attendees to avoid generalizations about the homeless residents. “Not everybody in the camp is doing drugs,” he said. “Not everybody is criminal.”

This came just a few days after Young criticized the criminal element of the homeless campers at Goldstream.

Brett said she met with two Langford representatives and through them, she invited Young to the camp.

“Just claiming that there’s such a criminal element here and demeaning everyone, telling people to stay away is dangerous [and promotes discrimination],” Brett said. “To classify everyone in one group just because they’re homeless when there are people who are not drug addicted here, people who don’t use needles here, like me, that is exactly like I would expect from Stew Young, Doug Ford or Donald Trump.”

Brett said she has a standing invitation to Young, Premier John Horgan, and Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, to visit the site.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

reporter@saanichnews.com

Goldstream Provincial Parktent city

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

Just Posted

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

The Compost Education Centre is hosting its annual spring plant sale on May 8 at 1216 North Park St. Physical distancing protocols will be in effect during the sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Black Press Media file photo)
This weekend: Tenth annual spring plant sale hosted by Victoria Compost Education Centre

The non-profit event Saturday, May 8 will feature numerous varieties of plants, live music

Saanich police detectives are investigating a reported sexual assault that occurred near Glanford Park on the evening of Dec. 29, 2020 and have shared an artist’s rendering of the individual. (Image via Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police release sketch of suspect sought in December sexual assault

Anyone with information asked to contact detectives, Crime Stoppers

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read