VICTORIA -- People living near Gorge Road East are concerned about homeless people moving into hotels in their neighborhood.

The Travelodge hotel in the neighbourhood is being used to house homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic and paying customers at the hotel were evicted last week.

Now, people living in the area say they are worried about their safety.

A petition started on Thursday by a resident living on Gorge Road East and had more than 100 signatures Saturday afternoon.

“The City of Victoria and BC Housing Authority should locate hotels near the downtown core and the community resources as opposed to the Gorge Road East area. Further, those currently renting at these hotels should not be evicted to make room for the homeless,” reads the petition online.

Before the province announced it would relocate homeless people into vacant hotel rooms, people living near Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue also said they were living in fear over the growing number of tents popping up.

One person who lives nearby said he understands why people started the petition.

“We’ve got a very old population in Victoria and I would suspect some of these people can’t really defend themselves should they come across someone entering their place,” said Bob Wiggins.

He said he understands the neighbours around the hotel are concerned, but he is happy that people are now being forced to maintain physical distance.

“These people need more than just being put inside, they need counselling, detox, etc., and putting them in hotel rooms in what is mainly a residential neighborhood is not the best solution,” said one person who signed the petition.

On Saturday morning, staff could be seen covering the signs in front of the Travelodge.