Citing safety concerns, the BC Park service was blocking members of the public Friday from entering Goldstream Provincial Park’s main and group campsites.
“We’re not blocking media, no one is allowed in right now,” a provincial park officer told a Black Press Media reporter Friday morning.
Members of the public can’t access the campsites until further notice. However, residents of Greater Victoria’s Tent City are allowed in-and-out privileges.
“In the interest of public safety, BC Parks has closed camping within the main campground and group campsites at this park … until further notice,” a statement from BC Parks reads. It goes on to say that other areas of the park — including day use areas — remain open for the public to enjoy.
BC Parks says any visitors who had reservations cancelled because of the closure will be “automatically noticed and refunded by Discover Camping.”
“BC Parks staff are onsite in the park and will be available to address any concerns visitors may have.”
Black Press Media contacted Housing Minister Selena Robinson for comment before 9 a.m. this morning. As of noon, the minister had not replied.
Meanwhile, tensions were high at the camp on Thursday morning, when dozens of area residents had gathered at the campsite entrance and heated discussions between Camp Namegans supporters and residents took place.
Langford Mayor Stew Young said Thursday he has received more than 100 e-mails and phone calls from concerned residents.
“In 24 hours, we’ve had more police incidents in that area than we’ve had all year,” Young said, noting “this is a problem and the public has a reason to be concerned … Drugs and open drug use is not going to be allowed, I don’t care where you are, that is the law and the RCMP will do their job. We’re not doing anything different than we normally would.”
According to Const. Matt Baker of the West Shore RCMP on Thursday, there have already been reports of criminal activity and drug use in the area over the past two days.
“We’ve got reports of recovered stolen vehicles, there have been reports of drug use at the park,” Baker said Thursday. “There’s also been recovery of an individual that had a warrant as well.”
– With files from Keili Bartlett