Judge grants injunction request to dismantle Saanich tent city
Camp Namegans spokeswoman Chrissy Brett speaks with reporters after a judge granted the District of Saanich an injunction request to clear out the tent city. Sept. 7, 2018. (CTV Vancouver Island)
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, September 7, 2018 11:04AM PDT
Last Updated Friday, September 7, 2018 12:10PM PDT
Campers are being told to leave Saanich's Regina Park by Sept. 11 after a judge granted the city an interim injunction request Friday.
Saanich commenced legal proceedings against the encampment in July, asking to immediately clear it out due to ongoing fire risks and other hazards.
Those hazards were seemingly made clear over the weekend, when a fire that broke out in a tent on the premises, destroying it, was later blamed on a lit cigarette.
It also argued that the tent city heavily strained city resources with constant visits from police, fire and other officials.
The hearing wrapped up last Friday. After the judge in the case reserved his decision for a week, he announced Friday that the injunction request would be granted and campers must clear out by Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Chrissy Brett, a representative of the tent city that residents have dubbed "Camp Namegans," said after the court decision that she wasn't sure yet whether she would comply with the order.
Brett calls the court’s order a sad day for homeless, likens it to a death sentence for some homeless. @CTVNewsVI— Robert Buffam (@CTVNewsRob) September 7, 2018
Assuming campers move Tuesday, a fence will be put up around the perimetre of the park and its soil will be tested for possible contamination as part of the judge's order. Any contaminated soil will be removed, and the park will then have fireproofed wood chips placed on the ground. The conditions will make it so the park can be camped in overnight if desired, which is permitted by Saanich bylaws as long as campers move on by 7 a.m.
The timeline for the remediation project is estimated to be between two to three weeks, according to Saanich.
The judge said the injunction will remain in place for 10 months, preventing people from camping in the park during the day. A trial is expected to take place within the next 10 months, in which campers will argue they have a constitutional right to camp at the site 24 hours a day.