Saanich tent city campers eye new, secret location ahead of move-out day
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Monday, September 10, 2018 6:35PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, September 10, 2018 6:38PM PDT
As many prepare to move out of Saanich's tent city following a court ruling, some organizers say they'll just move the encampment to a new location.
Organizers spent Monday dismantling tents at Regina Park that have been abandoned since the camp first sprung up months ago.
Campers have until 7 p.m. Tuesday to completely clear out of the park after they lost a court decision last week.
Citing fire hazards, a judge granted an injunction request last week sought by the District of Saanich to shut down the tent city.
But not everyone living at the camp is ready to give up the fight.
"We've got another location, another plan," said Camp Namegans resident Charles Walkus. "All in a group in one spot and all showing up at one go with everything ready to go and put up."
Walkus wouldn't divulge any other details on where campers were planning on moving to next.
"There's nothing we can do that is going to get us housing. Nothing's gonna change from leaving here to going there, that it's going to be better there," he said. "We're just sending a message saying it's not up to us…for people like us on disability that have only a certain amount of income, that ain't gonna do anything for anyone."
As per the judge's ruling, once the park is clear a fence will be put up around its perimeter. Soil will be tested for possible contamination, with any contaminated soil will be removed, and the park will then have fireproofed wood chips placed on the ground.
The injunction will remain in place for 10 months, preventing people from camping there during the day. Once the order expires, city bylaws will permit people to camp there as long as they move on by 7 a.m. daily.
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.