Trevor Botkin, trades manager for HeroWork, stands in front of some of the donated items heading to the occupants of Topaz Park. (File Contributed/Paul Latour)

Trevor Botkin, trades manager for HeroWork, stands in front of some of the donated items heading to the occupants of Topaz Park. (File Contributed/Paul Latour)

More than 600 items donated to the homeless occupants of Topaz Park

Newly established Neighbourhood Response Team helps coordinate collection

Topaz Park saw a 20-foot container lifted in by a crane on Wednesday morning, chock-a-block full of donated tents, sleeping bags, tarps and sleeping mats.

Members of the Greater Victoria community helped gather 640 items for the homeless being diverted to the park after many shelters shut down due to COVID-19.

The items were collected by a newly-established Neighbourhood Response Team comprised of members of the United Way Greater Victoria, HeroWork Victoria and Big Brothers Big Sisters Victoria.

ALSO READ: B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

On Saturday, the team collected donations at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena, seeing 166 tents, 240 sleeping bags, 109 tarps and 125 sleeping mats dropped off.

“We’re really thrilled with how the city responded,” said Paul Latour, founder and CEO of HeroWork.

The items will remain on site in quarantine for three days before being handed out as needed, Latour added.

There are more than 100 people already at the park, which has been organized by the City of Victoria, the province and local organizations to offer a more established site for the city’s most vulnerable during the pandemic.

ALSO READ: Greater Victoria street nurses ask government to help the homeless in COVID-19 crisis

“It’s important because how are the homeless going to self isolate and get food?” Latour said. “This is a place where food is brought in and served, where there’s proper spacing around tents.”

The area also has washrooms and handwashing stations, as well as staff on site to make sure everyone is comfortable.

“We want to thank everybody who dropped off items on Saturday,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO, United Way Greater Victoria. “This is another example of extraordinary generosity during this pandemic. The ‘neighbourhood’ truly responded.”

Topaz park has opened ahead of a similar camp at the Royal Athletic Park, which is being designed to accommodate people with higher needs, including those struggling with mental health and addictions.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

CoronavirusHomelessness

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

 

Trevor Botkin, trades manager for HeroWork, helps operators from Vic City Cranes deliver the donated items heading to the occupants of Topaz Park. (File Contributed/Paul Latour)

Trevor Botkin, trades manager for HeroWork, helps operators from Vic City Cranes deliver the donated items heading to the occupants of Topaz Park. (File Contributed/Paul Latour)

Just Posted

Firefighters respond to a fire on Heatherly Road in Colwood Jan. 19. (Photo courtesy of View Royal Fire Rescue)
Two people escape injury in Colwood house fire

Heatherly Road fire started on a covered porch

December and January, so far, have seen their share of rain. (Black Press Media file photo)
Potential for snow in Greater Victoria after unusually wet December, January

Winter is on the way, says Environment and Climate Change Canada

Victoria police say the number of business break and enters in the city has been rising for the last four months. (Twitter/VicPD)
Business break and enters on the rise in Victoria

Sophisticated techniques used to defeat alarm systems, police say

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

Rendering offers an overhead view of proposed tiny home community using repurposed shipping containers in the Caledonia/Vancouver street parking lot next to Royal Athletic Park. Council voted to allow Aryze Developments apply for a temporary use permit as part of the project. (Courtesy Aryze Developments)
Anonymous donor boosts shipping container housing project in Victoria

Donor promises to match further donations until $500,000 goal is met

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow

Pfizer shipments down until February, to be made up in March

B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced funding to train community mental health workers at four B.C. post-secondary institutions. (Stock photo)
B.C. funding training of mental health workers at four post-secondary institutions

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Egg producers in B.C. aren’t obligated to reveal their production sites. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Officials say there’s not enough Vancouver Island eggs to meet demand

BC Egg Marketing Board doesn’t regulate labelling, supply needed from off-Island

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter might not be done with Vancouver Island quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend for mid-Island

Most Read