VICTORIA -- The City of Victoria and provincial government say they are helping to move campers from Victoria’s Central Park into other areas due to flooding in the area.

The city says that recent snow and rainfall has caused Central Park to flood, making it unsafe for people to shelter in.

The municipality now plans to move campers into the parking lot of Royal Athletic Park until BC Housing can find additional indoor shelter space.

“With the recent heavy rainfall, the situation in Central Park has become untenable for those sheltering,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a release Tuesday.

“As the cold and wet weather continues to make sheltering in parks more challenging, the city is actively working with its partners to secure more safe spaces for people to stay warm and dry, by March 31 at the latest,” she said.

The city says that new tents and bedding will be provided for campers who are moving, which are being donated from the Victoria Fire Department. If additional tents or supplies are needed, BC Housing will provide funding.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced shelters in Victoria to reduce sheltering space due to physical distancing protocols. Meanwhile, the city says that Emergency Weather Protocol beds are currently unavailable for use.

To support outreach organizations at this time, the city says that it has made $115,420 in grants available.

Additionally, the municipality says that BC Housing and the GSL Group have been discussing reusing the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre as a temporary shelter, which it was used for in the early days of the pandemic. However, “no firm decisions have been made at this time,” says the city.

In the meantime, Victoria bylaw officers will continue to offer health checks and share information about available services with community organizations, according to the municipality.

Across the city, BC Housing is currently funding 641 indoor sheltering spaces in hotels, emergency response centres and shelters.