Scene of the arrest as Saanich Police arrest a woman who appeared to be staying at the camp near Ravine Way and Carey Road on Sept. 18.

Woman arrested as Saanich Police tape off Hwy 17 tent city

Province of B.C. calls in local police to clear campers

Dozens of Saanich police officers were on site Tuesday evicting residents of Saanich’s newest tent city where they arrested one woman in support of the camp, for crossing the police line.

Marilou Gagnon, an associate professor at the University of Victoria, tweeted about the arrest from the Carey Road camp.

“At 7:30, residents of #NamegansNation were woken up by police, surrounded by 50-70 officers, told to leave or they will get arrested. One supporter was arrested for crossing the police tape with coffee in her hand. #homesnothate,” read the tweet.

The camp, near Highway 17, is expected to snarl traffic, potentially causing delays.

“I don’t understand why the Ministry, social services, BC Housing and other government agencies can’t get together and solve this problem,” said Blair, a resident of the tent city. “We’re a small representation of a much larger population that’s currently living in shelters or substandard housing or unaffordable housing.”

As tent city residents left the Carey Road camp, Blair said they are trying to arrange transport for their belongings.

“Apparently we’re going back to Rudd Park,” he said, referring to where the campers settled after being evicted from Regina Park Sept. 11.

Police say they are clearing the group, which calls itself Namegans Nation, that settled at the Carey Road camp Sept. 15 after a letter from the province’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure evicted them from Regina Park.

“I would say that the approach police is taking is a tried and failed strategy of displacing and hiding homelessness,” said spokesperson Ashley Mollison.

The province told the residents’ lawyer that they would contact them prior to police arrival, but failed to do so, instead surprising the 75 campers, she explained.

“People woke up to a police line and threats of arrests,” Mollison added.

“This is a sad day for Canada, especially when Saanich Police said they were not a police state,” camp leader Chrissy Brett said at the scene. “Actions speak louder than words.”

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