Chrissy Brett weeps as she holds another Camp Namagens resident at Goldstream Provincial Park in Langford Sept. 20. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Province gives B.C. homeless campers hard deadline to leave provincial park

Housing minister Selina Robinson says supports in place to transition Greater Victoria campers to housing, shelters

The roving tent city of homeless campers that is currently residing in Goldstream Provincial Park can stay until Oct. 1 according to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

A statement released Wednesday evening from housing minister Selina Robinson said a plan is in place to provide shelter and housing for the homeless campers currently at Goldstream Park.

“People will begin to transition into housing and shelters on Oct. 1, 2018, and BC Parks will notify the public once the campground is ready to reopen,” Robinson said. “The day-use area and group sites remain open.”

RELATED: Lawyer questions rejection of visitors to Goldstream homeless campers

Outreach staff will work with campers to match them with the right housing for their individual needs.

“Ultimately, our goal is to ensure the safety of everyone involved and assist campers in a respectful transition before the morning of Oct. 2, 2018, which is the expiry of the 14-day maximum stay at provincial parks,” Robinson said.

BC Housing will be on site to assist in the transition, and transportation to housing and storage for personal belongings will be organized for campers starting Oct. 1. “Outreach staff will assist campers in moving into shelter or housing prior to Oct. 1 as those opportunities arise.”

In the meantime, Pacifica Housing will be permitted to deliver daily outreach, harm reduction supplies and other necessities to the campers.

RELATED: Final cost for homeless camp approaches $1 million

If there are campers who choose to remain past the Oct. 2 deadline, Robinson said, BC Parks will evict them in accordance with parks policy, and in co-ordination with the RCMP and other ministries.

At a press conference in Vancouver Wednesday, Premier John Horgan who is the Langford-Juan de Fuca MLA, said he shared the sentiment of residents in his community that provincial parks are not an appropriate response for housing people in need.

Horgan said directed his staff to meet with officials and families in the area.

“We organized a tour of the campsite to ease any fears that citizens may have, and we’re going to work as diligently as we can to find solutions within the two-week period that people are entitled to be in provincial campsites,” he said, adding the community will be able to access the park again “very soon.”

kristyn.anthony@blackpress.ca


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