Anne Cooper of the Pivot Legal Society, here seen talking to Maple Ridge officials, did not want to speculate about the eventual outcome of the legal case against the Regina Park encampment, but notes that availability of housing alternatives has been a determining factor. Submitted.

Saanich rejects delay for homeless camp injunction

Residents of the homeless camp at Regina Park suffered a setback Tuesday after legal representatives for the District of Saanich insisted on appearing before court on Aug. 13.

Camp leaders heard Tuesday that Saanich rejected their request for a delay, after they had asked for it last week, as camp residents remain without legal counsel in the face of injunctions that the District of Saanich and the Province of British Columbia had respectively filed against the camp on July 23 and July 27 .

Ashley Mollison of the Alliance against Displacement said the camp will now appeal directly to the court for an adjournment.

“We think it’s an expensive and wasteful use of resources to drag this before a judge when the District of Saanich could have agreed to this reasonable request outside the courtroom,” she said.

Mollison said it is “unfair and unreasonable” to expect 100 homeless people staying at the camp to process, understand and respond to the large volume of evidence that both Saanich and the province have presented against them in such a short time and without legal counsel.

Anna Cooper, a lawyer with the Pivot Legal Society, said the camp’s current absence of legal representation will complicate its case.

The court system is difficult enough to navigate, and those who represent themselves will find it even more difficult, she said. “It’s extremely unequal footing, when you have governments with lawyers, and homeless, who are self-representing,” she said.

Cooper did not want to speculate about the eventual outcome of the case.

This said, previous cases have shown that the most important factor is whether sufficient alternatives exist for homeless individuals, who the injunctions will impact.

Another factor concerns location, she added. Courts will have to weigh the life-saving services that homeless camps provide against competing community needs, she said.

To show these effects, courts will consider submissions from homeless individuals themselves, as well as experts who have investigated the beneficial effects of homeless camps as overdose prevention sites among others.

“That’s not conjuncture,” she said. “That’s supported by evidence.”

The Saanich News contacted the District of Saanich for comment, but did not receive a reply by deadline. When asked a similar question, Megan Catalano, a spokesperson for the District of Saanich, said the municipality would not be able to comment on procedural issues while before court.

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Veteran Saanich councillor Vicki Sanders won’t seek re-election

‘Council is becoming more complicated,’ says Coun. Leif Wergeland

Local and international artists paint murals across Victoria

Sixteen murals are spread out across downtown Victoria as part of the ‘concrete canvas’ project

Oak Bay brothers scoop 10 kg of poop from park paths in 30 mins

Family picks up dog poo to give back, inspire others to be more responsible

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Longtime broadcaster joins race for Saanich council

Ian Jessop says he wants to bring support to Mayor Richard Atwell around council table

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

Thousands to attend funeral service for officers killed in Fredericton shooting

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada paid for study to understand Canadian attitudes

These are the highest-paid actresses of 2018

In its list released this week Forbes said all 10 earned a total of $186 million before tax

Most Read