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Oak Bay police ‘patient’ but ready to make arrests if campers don’t leave

Vehicle access restricted to waterfront segment of Uplands Park
Oak Bay police tape off the tent city at Cattle Point Friday, Oct. 19. (Flavio Nienow/News staff)

While police say they are being “patient” as campers pack their belongings to leave Oak Bay’s Uplands Park, Oak Bay Police Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties says they are ready to make arrests if the situation extends for “too long.”

“We certainly can’t allow for a prolonged 12-hour dismantling of a tent; we’re prepared to make arrests, but obviously we are going to be reasonable,” he said during a scrum with media on Friday morning, adding that police did not give campers a specific deadline before arrests would be made.

“We’re in constant discussions with them; we’re being patient and we’re trying to be very fair and ensure that they can make the logistical demands they need,” he continued. “We don’t expect this to go on much longer, but it’s a constant discussion with them.”

Yesterday afternoon campers were served with a trespass notice by the District of Oak Bay telling them to immediately leave the park. However, a total of 17 campers still spent the night at the site.

Police blocked vehicle access to Cattle Point Friday morning and surrounded the camp in police tape to ensure no one from outside the group entered the camp.

The group of campers, who call themselves Namegans Nation, set up in Uplands Park Wednesday night.

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They are a splinter of the large encampment that filled Saanich’s Regina Park from April until mid-September this year and have moved regularly since, under directives from both the provincial and municipal governments.

The camp moved from its latest site – a piece of provincial land near Saanich municipal hall – to Oak Bay on Oct. 17.

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Oak Bay police tape off the tent city at Cattle Point Friday, Oct. 19. (Flavio Nienow/News staff)