Alex Berns

Alex Berns

Upset residents say ‘enough is enough’ for abortion protests

Residents of View Royal housing complex becoming increasingly frustrated with weekly abortion vigil just steps from their front doors

Residents of a housing complex in View Royal are becoming increasingly frustrated with weekly abortion vigil just steps from their front doors.

At least three residents of the converted motel at the intersection of Island Highway and Helmcken Road said they’re tired of having the protestors out on what feels like their front yard.

The protestors are there because of the nearby Vancouver Island Women’s Clinic in View Royal Square, which performs abortions, among other sexual health services.

The 40 Days for Life protestors are there with signs to pray and talk to anyone who approaches them every Thursday morning.

Every year, the group also holds two 40-days vigils in which protestors march for 12 hours each day.

Most of the old motel’s residents have no backdoor and their front door opens directly into their living area. Because the protestors are so close it feels like they’re peering in on the residents’ private lives.

“Enough is enough. Any kind of protest, you make your statement and you go away,” resident Janice Roberts said. “There’s no respect for anybody but them.”

Hale Harlingten lives in the corner unit, his front door about six metres from where the protestors stand.

“I have a small place. They’re in front of it. The whole world’s looking at me and I just want a little bit of peace and quiet to come out here and sit,” Harlingten said. “They’ve been there long enough now that I think every car in the city has gone by the corner and knows their opinion. The only purpose they can be there for is to cause a disturbance. So we get upset.”

The campaign co-ordinator for 40 Days for Life, Alex Berns, said his group has had previous altercations with residents – Roberts in particular.

“(Roberts) has had several conversations with our members, all of them highly spirited,” Berns said. “Wherever she has been and what makes her the way she is today, we include her in our prayers too.”

OUR VIEW: Time for vigil to move on

Last Thursday, the tension got to a point where a small altercation took place.

As Berns took a walk, which he said he often does to ease back pain, he went around the corner down the Island Highway where he said Roberts approached him.

She said she asked him to leave and stood her ground. They bumped each other – both claim the other person was at fault. Neither was injured.

However, Berns called the police, believing the altercation to be a form of harassment.

RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Max Fossum said it’s unlikely police will recommend charges.

“It’s one word against the other word really,” Fossum said.

Fossum said the protestors have a right to be there unless View Royal says otherwise.

There have been some minor incidents in the past involving the protest, but nothing major, Fossum added.

View Royal chief administrative officer Kim Anema said there is little the town can do to remove the vigil unless they are disrupting traffic or causing a safety hazard. Even with complaints from residents, the protestors have a protected right to protest so long as they stick to the rules.

Anema said he understands the concerns surrounding the vigil and View Royal will continue to monitor the situation.

Berns said his group is there to protest abortions and to talk to people about the dangers of post-abortive trauma and depression. The protestors say they have been subjected to harassment in the past. One morning they arrived at their usual spot to find a pumpkin with a coat hanger stuck in it.

Another morning a coat hangar had been hung from a signpost behind where they stand. Recently they have arrived to find eggs smashed on the ground and ketchup spread around. The residents of the housing complex said they know nothing about those incidents. They plan to send a complaint in writing to View Royal council.

Vancouver Island Women’s Clinic did not wish to comment. The next 40-day vigil starts Sept. 26.

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com

 

Just Posted

Victoria-born, 16-time Grammy winning musician David Foster penned a letter to the Greater Victoria School District May 7 urging them not to cut music programs. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
David Foster joins fight to save music in Greater Victoria School District

‘Music is the great equalizer’ Foster wrote in a letter to the district

‘Nindanikoobijiganag: We are Star People’ by Mississauga Nishnaabe Lucbanin artist Estrella Whetung. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria beadwork exhibit speaks to evolving, enduring nature of Indigenous art

On Beaded Ground features work from West Coast artists and a Cedar Hill Middle School group

Former Victoria HarbourCat and Chicago White Sox player Andrew Vaughn. (Photo courtesy of Chicago White Sox)
Former Victoria HarbourCat hits first MLB home run, adds another two days later

Andrew Vaughn is the first HarbourCat alumni to hit a homer in the majors

A seniors housing complex proposed for Cedar Hill Road in Saanich was supported by council after a public hearing on May 12. (Rendering by Jenson Group Architects)
New 85-unit seniors housing development gets green light from Saanich council

Four-storey rental complex would be located on Cedar Hill Road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read