Oak Bay served up tent city with a bill from the District of Oak Bay and moved campers along from Cattle Point Thursday morning.
The group calling itself Namegans Nation held court in Regina Park from April until mid-September and have moved regularly since, under directives from both the provincial and Saanich municipal governments.
The camp, now a group of roughly 30 people, moved from it’s latest site – provincial land near Saanich municipal hall – to Oak Bay on Wednesday evening.
“This morning, we attended to keep the peace while the District of Oak Bay served an invoice on the camp leader for costs associated to their previous activities in Oak Bay. The invoice was served without incident,” said Oak Bay Police Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties.
The campers were also notified that they are in breach of Oak Bay’s bylaws.
“Specifically, individuals can not erect tents or structures in a park in Oak Bay without a permit. This is a bylaw that we have enforced recently on a group of campers from West Vancouver who overnighted in Oak Bay while visiting the area. Those individuals left immediately and without incident once informed of the bylaw,” Bernoties said. “We have also received a complaint from the District of Oak Bay that the campers are interfering with the lawful use of that area of the park by others and are rendering it inoperative to others. This constitutes the criminal offence of mischief.”
Brett didn’t seem phased by the bill, suggesting Oak Bay go through small claims court.
“I don’t find any of their actions legal. At the end of the day, I think they need to go through their processes to actually enforce something like that. I can give them a bill for running an open-air shelter,” Brett said. “Maybe I’ll just send them a bill back.”
Brett earlier said that didn’t have a bylaw to keep campers out of parks.
“Section 23 of our parks bylaw makes it very clear that any camping or structure is illegal and the definition of parks is very wide. That area is certainly an area used for recreation,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen.
“I expect the police will take steps to enforce our bylaw and at this point they are the lead agency.”
Brett says there are now 28 campers after two accepted an offered hotel room.
The campers took tents down when asked to by police, but left them in place and plan to raise them again at 7 p.m.
My new yrs resolution is a round 2 of municipalities we've already been too....afternwe have cycled through Central Saanich & Sidney to add to our list of PDs who work with us not mud sling. Only part of Duncan RCMP and Westshore RCMP & oak bay pd make it personal not policing pic.twitter.com/yaEyI4aP1T— Chrissy Brett (@chrissy_brett) December 27, 2017
The roving tent city led by Brett landed in Oak Bay this time last year. They moved out of Oak Bay on Halloween 2017 on bad terms with local police.
– with files from Keri Coles and Flavio Nienow