Tent city campers in Goldstream Park given Oct. 2 deadline to move out
B.C. Premier John Horgan says a group of homeless people who set up camp in a provincial park in Langford fall under the same rules as any other campers and must leave by next Tuesday.
Speaking at a news conference in Vancouver, Horgan confirmed that the government was working to find homes for members of a roving tent city previously known as "Camp Namegans" and "Namegans Nation."
"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," Horgan said Wednesday. "I expect by the end of that two-week period, we will have housing or appropriate options for the people that are currently in the tent city, and that the citizens of my community will be able to access the park again very soon."
Horgan's own constituency of Langford-Juan De Fuca includes Goldstream Provincial Park, where campers moved in last Tuesday. Under the two-week rule, campers would be expected to move out by Oct. 2.
B.C. housing minister Selina Robinson confirmed Horgan's comments in a news release, saying campers would begin to transition into housing and shelters on Oct. 1. She said BC Parks would notify the public when the campground is ready to reopen.
The group had previously occupied Saanich's Regina Park for months before briefly moving to a grassy patch of land along the Pat Bay Highway. They were evicted from both sites within a week.
Their presence triggered the province to close off access to the park until the situation could be resolved.
Horgan's announcement comes after members of the encampment complained that officials weren't letting anyone in to Goldstream Provincial Park, including supporters trying to deliver supplies like food.
“Before people moved to this campground we were running volunteer support and getting people meals," Ashley Mollison of the Alliance Against Displacement told the Canadian Press. "We've had a lot of people show up to cook meals, including family members, and they've all been turned away at the gate. The park rangers will take the food in to people.”
Robinson also said in the news release that anyone who stays past the Oct. 2 deadline will be evicted in accordance with parks policy.