Residents celebrate ban on overnight sheltering in four parks

Residents are celebrating now that Victoria city council has taken the initial steps to ban overnight sheltering in four parks.

Residents in several neighbourhoods are celebrating now that Victoria city council has taken the initial steps to ban overnight sheltering in four parks.

During a meeting last Thursday, council voted to ban overnight camping in Haegert, Kings, Cridge and Arbutus parks.

According to a report to council, the city received 81 responses from residents and property owners in the vicinity of the four parks, a majority of whom were in favour of prohibiting camping.

In the emails, residents expressed concern over noise disturbances, such as yelling, swearing and fighting, health concerns from feces, urine and syringes left in the park, reduced sense of security and an unwelcoming appearance of the park.

Fifteen people without homes, who have previously camped in parks, also provided feedback, adding the bylaw change wouldn’t affect too many homeless people as there are still other options for sheltering in the city, including other parks and five seasonal shelters.

Currently, overnight sheltering is permitted in city parks from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.

As the council liaison for Fernwood and downtown, Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe said she’s received a “significant” amount of emails from residents regarding Haegart, Kings and Cridge parks.

“Parks are supposed to be so that all users feel comfortable using them and currently some of these that are listed no longer are being used for families, children, people with dogs, for even cutting through because of some of the issues,” she said.

However, some councillors expressed concern about the effect this will have on other city parks, if for example, the residents of tent city on the lawns of the courthouse are evicted in the future.

“I can support this but I do so fully recognizing that we will see applications from other neighbourhoods for other parks,” said Coun. Chris Coleman. “If we finally see a resolution to tent city, we will see a dispersion to other parks and we’ve taken four out of that. We will be asked to take more out and that just further aggregates or concentrates it in the number of parks remaining. That becomes the issue we have to deal with.”

The amendment has residents excited for things to return to normal in the neighbourhood.

“The whole neighbourhood looks forward to it. It will be a summer of peace and quiet,” said David Hillman, the captain of the street block watch in Fernwood, who lives less than a block away from Kings Park. “Things will return to normal.”

Mary, who did not want to publish her last name, lives next door to the same park and isn’t optimistic the ban will stop people from taking shelter in the parks.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” she said. “They’ve tried doing events out there, but that still didn’t keep them (campers) out. People would still come and drink themselves silly.”

Staff said there is no plan at this time to prohibit camping in other city parks. The bylaw amendments still need to be approved by council.

 

 

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

Just Posted

Victoria police are seeking home surveillance video and witnesses following a prowling incident in Esquimalt Jan. 20. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt prowler removes air conditioner, peers into person’s home

VicPD is seeking video footage, witnesses following Jan. 20 incident

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
School bus driver laments motorists who pass while red lights are flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

A cyclist navigates the shoulder in traffic along Oak Bay Avenue in Victoria. (John Luton Photo)
Oak Bay council supports Fort Street bike lanes

Victoria bike lanes would connect to Cadboro Bay Road

The Victoria Fire Department extinguished a 15 foot tent fire in the 500-block of Ellice Street Jan. 19. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police investigating after 15-foot flames engulf tent

Flames damage nearby business in 500-block of Ellice Street

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

Most Read