Members of Camp Namegans, the roving tent city that has been making its way around the region for the past year and had been growing exponentially alongside the Trans-Canada highway in Saanich, has now found a new home.
Organizers announced late Tuesday the group had arrived at the Goldstream Provincial Park campground, where they will stay for at least two weeks. This after being evicted by police from a piece of Crown land near Uptown Mall on Tuesday morning.
U-Haul trucks provided by the Together Against Poverty Society, a Victoria-based legal advocacy organization, helped move their belongings. Organizers had initially planned to return to Rudd Park, where the group had briefly congregated when first moved out of Regina Park alongside the highway. But they were turned away by police around 1 p.m.
That’s when the decision was made to move further out of the region to a popular provincial campground in the West Shore.
In a tweet Tuesday morning, Saanich Police even provided a map of parks in the area that allowed “temporary overnight sheltering” between 7 p.m. to 9 a.m., but campers criticize having to pack up their belongings each day only to return during evening hours.
The province said the safety of campers - along with the 26,000 people who drive that stretch of highway near Carey Road - was their “first priority”. However, their ultimate goal, according to a statement to Black Press, is to get people into shelters and longer-term housing.
The camp is now asking for food and beverage donations, as the group is now more isolated and have less access to services.