Camp leader Chrissy Brett (left) and property owner Sam Seera met in a studio apartment Friday morning at Seera’s West Saanich Road property where about 20 homeless campers are staying. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

Camp leader Chrissy Brett (left) and property owner Sam Seera met in a studio apartment Friday morning at Seera’s West Saanich Road property where about 20 homeless campers are staying. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

Saanich property owner says homeless campers have been nothing but respectful

Sam Seera says of Friday departure, he might even miss them after helping to clean up property

Just three days before the residents of Camp Namegans are scheduled to leave his West Saanich Road property, owner Sam Seera has had a change in how he perceives homeless people.

Seera, who owns the property at 5090 West Saanich Rd., and rents it to Saanich mayoral candidate David Shebib, was surprised to find out his tenant had opened the property to the homeless campers Oct. 2 after they were forced from the campground at Goldstream Provincial Park.

Seera initially had a lengthy sit down with camp organizers Friday, giving them an Oct. 12 deadline, but visited again Tuesday morning.

“It looks better now than before they moved in,” Seera said, noting residents had cleaned up some of the junk already on the property, and continued to be quiet and respectful. “They’re really nice, I think I might even miss them.”

READ MORE: Camp Namegans agree to vacate private Saanich residence by Friday, Oct. 12

Seera said the group has faced public scrutiny after alleged stories of property destruction at Regina Park – the location they occupied before Goldstream – and part of his long discussion with them was making sure the public remained in their corner.

Since then, he said he’s had no issues with the residents, and that they seem to simply be people needing help with legitimate problems.

READ MORE: Owner wants tent city campers off Saanich property, posts eviction notice

“My attitude has totally changed,” he said. “When they first arrived I was swearing and now… now I would say they’re not bad people.”

While originally there had been about 20 people on his property, Seera said now it’s dropped to about a dozen who are still scheduled to leave Friday morning. Part of their original deal was that Seera would pay for two U-Haul vehicles to help the residents move.

No exact location has been determined for the group, who for the most part are hoping to stick together.

“Most have already left,” Seera said. “It’s a bit boring now.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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