A new report states that the final cost of the homeless camp in Regina Park could add to anywhere between $746,500 and $923,500. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Final cost for Saanich homeless camp approaches $1 million

It is uncertain what impact the camp will have on 2019 tax rates

The bill for the former homeless camp in Regina Park is starting to come in, but it is not clear whether it will impact next year’s tax rate.

A draft report from the District of Saanich says the municipality could pay anywhere between $746,000 and $923,500 for all the costs associated with the homeless camp that had set up in Regina Park from early May to Sept. 13. Specific items include policing, the remediation of the park, storage for campers’ gear and a hygiene station with showers and toilets near Municipal Hall.

RELATED: Saanich earmarks additional funds for homeless camp

Policing costs alone could add up to more than $500,000. The total cost of policing will have reached $315,000 by the end of September, and authorities may spend anywhere between $55,000 and $232,000 for additional costs.

Saanich police closed the homeless camp on Sept. 13 following a court ruling. Some of the camp’s residents have since set up an encampment in Goldstream Provincial Park and are threatening to visit 100 locations in 100 days.

RELATED: Tent city in Saanich’s Regina Park shuts down

Mayor Richard Atwell said the estimates in the report appear in line with earlier estimates, but issues remain.

“Short term, it has drained our contingency fund,” he said. “Long-term, I think it’s under control. However, the next budget cycle will have to consider from where the contingency fund will be topped up.”

One question looming in the background is whether Regina Park would lead to higher taxes. Saanich residents heard in July their taxes will not go up in 2018 as council earmarked its entire 2018 contingency fund — $700,000 — towards extra costs associated with the tent city in Regina Park near Uptown.

RELATED: West Shore residents hold forum regarding homeless camping at Goldstream

Valla Tinney, director of finance, said in the summer costs associated with the camp will not lead to a tax increase in 2018, because tax rates are already set. Depending on circumstances though, it could lead to a tax lift in 2019, she said.

Atwell said that question will be part of the budget process. “We don’t know what the tax level will be until the new council deliberates on the budget process,” he said.

Stan Bartlett, chair of the Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria, said this “huge tent city bill” is one of many Saanich taxpayers will face this year.

“With a major shift in councillors — there will be at least four — it’s the perfect time to start to do council business differently,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Saanichtent city

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Central Saanich needs at least more than 500 additional daycare spaces

Report before Central Saanich says region faces a ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

Saanich offers free saplings to encourage residents to spruce up for National Tree Day

Giveaway to take place Sept. 21 in Glanford Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sooke RCMP searching for two people, reported missing on Sept. 10

Alannah Brooke Logan, 20, and Beau Richard Santuccione, 32, last seen on Otter Point Road

Victoria man plans 30-hour walk to raise funds for vulnerable youth

Take a Hike engages youth in intensive, clinical counselling and outdoor experiential learning

Opponent of proposed Sidney cannabis store calls on councillors to heed health authority advice

Council to consider revised application from Happy Buddha Cannabis on Sept. 28

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Man sentenced to 7 years for gas-and-dash death of Alberta gas station owner

Ki Yun Jo was killed after Mitchell Sydlowski sped off in a stolen cube van without paying for $198 of fuel

Most Read