The provincial government has joined Saanich in taking legal actions against the homeless camp in Camp Regina. Saanich News file photo

Province joins Saanich’s legal fight against Regina Park homeless camp

The provincial government filed the injunction Friday

The founder of the homeless camp in Regina Park said nothing has changed after the provincial government took legal steps against against the encampment Friday.

Provincial documents dated July 27 say the province has filed notice for a court hearing during the week of Aug. 13 to consider an injunction that calls on camp residents to “vacate and cease the continuous occupation” the provincial part of the encampment.

With this notice, the provincial government has added to the legal pressure facing almost 100 people currently occupying Regina Park. The District of Saanich has also asked for an injunction with a hearing scheduled for the week of Aug. 13.

While it is not clear whether the District and the provincial government have co-ordinated this timing, much points in that direction.

Local MLA and minister of education Rob Fleming said in an interview that the government supported Saanich’s direction in promising additional legal steps.

The filing in turn mentions familiar concerns about the camp’s proximity to the Trans-Canada Highway, fire safety and its impact on the neighbourhood. The filing also appears to anticipate an argument from the camp residents by noting that the provincial government has already taken measures to help the residents. Previous applications for injunctions have failed because courts appeared reluctant to grant such orders in the absence of alternatives for affected individuals.

Fleming previewed this argument last week, when he said the province has been working together with Saanich to build modular supportive housing. The province has already built 300 modular housing spots with 700 remaining, he said.

Under an eventual arrangement, the municipality would supply the land, while the province would fund the site preparation and construction of modular housing with a supportive component. A non-profit group would operate the facility with funding from the provincial government.

“I think that [supportive housing] is a key part of winding up the camp at Regina Park,” he said.

If the moves by Saanich and the province appeared co-ordinated, the response from the camp struck a familiar note.

“Show me proof of jurisdiction,” said Chrissy Brett, noting that the land in question remains unceded Indigenous territory. “Show me a sales’ receipt.”

Earlier this week, camp residents and organizers held a press conference in which they denounced Saanich’s decision to file a court injunction. Specifically, they accused Saanich of using legal tools to deal with homelessness instead of addressing the problem. They also argued that the homeless camp and other like it represent an alternative to dispersing homeless individuals in absence of unavailable or inappropriate alternatives.

Brett echoed these comments, but also noted that the provincial government made less of a show in announcing its decision, when compared to Saanich.

Mum, meanwhile, is the word when comes to comments from Saanich councillors after the Saanich News had sent them a catalogue of questions about the camp and their respective support for Saanich’s decision to take legal actions.

Of the councillors, who have responded so far, Coun. Brice, Brownoff, Haynes, and Sanders all declined to comment in noting that official comment has to come from Mayor Richard Atwell, who received the same questions.

“I think it’s very important to wait while our application for an injunction is before the courts,” he said. “I can’t comment at this time.”

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

 

This photo shows a portion of the notice of injunction that the provincial government filed Friday against the homeless camp in Regina Park.

Just Posted

Victoria ranks as 16th least affordable city in the world

Vancouver, as well as the Fraser Valley, Nanaimo and Comox Valley also crack the Top 25

Lion dance, Kung Fu demonstrations celebrate Chinese New Year

Sunday’s event rings in the Year of the Rat

Number of EI recipients up 8.1 per cent in Greater Victoria, but unemployment remains low

Greater Victoria recorded the lowest unemployment in December 2019

Saanich mayor signs up for mason bee rental service

Fred Haynes rents mason bee colony from Oyster River beekeeper for his Prospect Lake home

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Most Read