City of Victoria bylaw officers accompanied by police handed out eviction notices to protesters camping in Centennial Square Sunday morning. At 9:45 a.m., 87 people taking part in Occupy Victoria were told they must pack up and leave by noon, Monday, Nov. 7. The notices were hand delivered to individuals or left on tents and communal areas of those who were not present.
“In terms of next steps, the City is hopeful to achieve voluntary compliance with the Parks Regulation Bylaw by the deadline of noon tomorrow,” said City of Victoria spokesperson Katie Josephson in a statement released Sunday. “If individuals fail to comply by the deadline, there are a variety of options under the Community Charter, including ticketing or an injunction. An injunction is an application to the B.C. Supreme Court for a court order to remove tents and other structures and objects.”
If an injunction is granted and ignored, the city then has the right to send in police to arrest and remove the protesters.
Mayor Dean Fortin said police cannot legally step in forcibly move the 50 to 60 tent camp until an injunction is granted and served to the protesters — something he says can take several days or weeks even though the city wants them out before in time to set up Christmas decorations and a public ice rink before the annual Santa Claus parade on Nov. 26.
However, he “hopes” the city and People’s Assembly of Victoria organizers behind Occupy Victoria “arrive at some sort of peaceful resolution through negotiation” before the city is forced to go the injunction route.