Victoria mayor calls special council meeting to discuss homelessness
VICTORIA -- Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps is calling a special, closed-door meeting of city council this Thursday so that council can receive legal advice on options for better managing the city’s homeless encampment situation.
Some councillors and Victoria residents have voiced concerns about a growing number of homeless camps in the city. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the camps have been allowed to stay 24/7 at select city parks, instead of usual overnight hours.
Helps told CTV News Monday that “the current situation is not working for anyone.”
“Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as simply enforcing the (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.) camping bylaw without a better plan in place,” she said.
Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe told CTV News that she wants to see an end to the around-the-clock camping in city parks.
Meanwhile, Coun. Geoff Young has repeatedly called for the bylaw that prevents all-day camping in parks to be enforced.
City council won’t actually vote on any bylaw changes until it meets in public at its next committee of the whole meeting on Sept. 3.
Thursday’s meeting will begin with a statement from Helps that will be open to the public, according to city spokesperson Bill Eisenhauer.