Many of Saanich’s 102 parks not ‘appropriate’ for overnight sheltering

Protest group lands at Hampton Park to point out it’s not ‘camp-able’

The nomadic tent city housing protest has returned to Hampton Park in the Tillicum neighbourhood for the first time since last year.

Early Wednesday afternoon Chrissy Brett, the Namegans Nations group spokesperson, was stationed along Tillicum Road where she leaned over a gas grill to keep warm. In her first few hours at the site she was approached by several concerned neighbours regarding the appropriateness of Hampton for overnight sheltering.

Read More: Saanich mayor pitches former Emily Carr library as housing site

Brad Hlasny, president of Gorge Soccer club that is based at Hampton, said parents are concerned for the safety of their children.

“[The group] continues to use community youth parks and playgrounds for political gain,” he said. “There are lots of parks around where no youth programs would be affected.”

(Inset photo: A map of the 102 Saanich Parks made available for overnight sheltering which includes Cedar Hill Park. Saanich.ca)

Hampton Park’s “camp-ability,” or lack thereof, is one of the reasons the Namegans group returned there. It was one of the stops of the roaming tent city in the winter of 2017-18. The group of 14 people was forced out of Cedar Hill Park on Wednesday after the park, which wraps around a gold course, was deemed inappropriate by Saanich for overnight shelter. The decision was surprising as Cedar Hill Park was originally listed as one of the 102 Saanich parks available for overnight sheltering between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m.

“I don’t think the knee-jerk reaction by Saanich [to kick homeless from Regina Park] is the answer, and I don’t think that Hampton Park is the answer,” Brett said. “We are reduced in numbers right now, I don’t think this is as invasive as dropping [100 occupants from] Regina Park into this space.

“This is what we were told. Here are the parks you can tent at in Saanich.”

Saanich has a proud tradition of natural space, boasting 172 parks. In total parks cover 8.2 square kilometres, which represents eight per cent of Saanich’s total area, the equivalent of 100 Canadian Football League fields (this is all according to Saanich.ca).

Brett agreed the environmental sensitivity of parks such as Cuthbert Holmes and Mount Douglas makes them inappropriate for overnight sheltering, and the group has no plans to go there, nor many other parks.

(Inset photo: Taylor Park at Sims and Regina near Regina Park.)

“Look at Taylor Park [at Sims and Regina, near Regina Park], it’s mostly a playground with no room for tents, so why is overnight permitted there? It’s ‘uncamp-able,’” Brett said.

“Can we reduce it to 20 or 30 parks across Saanich that are ‘camp-able’ parks? Maybe they rotate, but there needs to be bathrooms. I think the District of Saanich, Saanich Parks and Saanich Police need to sit down with our lawyer and without going back to the courts, agree on which parks are appropriate.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

New orca calf in Salish Sea ‘healthy and active’

Birth cause for celebration but things still dire genetically, expert says

Busted water main floods Esquimalt home

Construction crew struck main during CRD wastewater facility construction

Saanich Police nab drunk driver who passed out at two red lights, kept driving

Hot rod motorcyclist, excessive speeding part of busy start to 2019 for Saanich Police traffic

Famous Peninsula chickens adopted out in days

CRD Animal Control re-homed 101 chickens corralled on the Peninsula

Langford cadets top podium in regional biathlon competition

Provincial Biathlon Competition set for Mount Washington on Feb. 9 and 10

VIDEO: Excessive speed on the Malahat captured by dash cam footage

Poster calls driving ‘dangerous, obnoxious and disrespectful’

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

Property owners have to register to avoid vacant-home tax

BREAKING: At least one person has died in a motor vehicle accident in Port Alberni

Burde Street closed as emergency personnel wait for collision analysis team

Good Samaritan rescues cat found in heaps of garbage at B.C. landfill

The cat was abandoned and left to die at the Foothills Boulevard Regional Landfill, the BC SPCA says

Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna home to Canada’s most expensive rentals: report

According to PadMapper, units in larger B.C. cities cost $1,300 to more than $3,000

B.C. home sales drop 25% in 2018

The B.C. Real Estate Association points to the federal government’s mortage stress test

Canada asks China for clemency for B.C. man sentenced to death, Freeland says

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was sentenced to 15 years, but after new trial, was sentenced to die

B.C. surgery wait list has ballooned, group says

B.C. Anesthesiologists’ Society says surgical waits have risen by three times the rate of population

Most Read