Authorities should avoid harsh response to new homeless camp in Saanich

Unfortunately, authorities appear less tolerant towards the newest homeless camp in Saanich.

Earlier this spring, Coun. Colin Plant predicted that cracking down on one homeless camp would merely lead to another one elsewhere.

Saanich residents are currently witnessing confirmation of this theory. Little more than 24 hours passed between the moment Saanich Police shut down the homeless camp at Regina Park and the emergence of the new camp at the corner of Ravine Way and Carey Road.

While the camps may differ in size and surrounding circumstances, the causes that led to both remain, and camp organizers would likely argue that this is exactly the point that they are trying to make by maintaining their presence in Saanich. Whether this agenda will resonate with authorities beyond the temporary relief measures announced Monday remains uncertain for now.

RELATED: Regina Park campers move to nearby park, plan next move

RELATED: Tent city in Saanich’s Regina Park shuts down

RELATED: Residents of new homeless camp in Saanich expect crackdown from province

Available evidence suggests that authorities appear less tolerant towards this latest camp. Provincial authorities took only 36 hours to tell some 40 residents to get off their piece of highway lawn. Careful readers of a Saanich Police press release may note that police asked the ministry of transportation and infrastructure to see if the ministry would assist Saanich in enforcing the provisions of the Trespass Act, including a provincial number to call.

Such a ‘request’ for assistance does not exactly leave the impression that police are taking a wait-and-see approach with this camp and adds to the growing tapestry of tension between the police and the camp residents.

While campers overstate their concerns with Saanich Police – a genuine police state would have never tolerated Regina Park in the first place and cracked down with far tougher measures than bright lights and fences – their general point about growing hostility towards homelessness among certain quarters of the public and parts of officialdom deserves attention because it speaks to a larger fraying of social norms and cohesion.

It is therefore comforting to see local residents treat the new camp with a matter-of-fact attitude, if not sympathy. To be clear, neither the public nor authorities should get used to this phenomenon. The worst solution to the current camp would be to rush into a rash action after some five months of relative inactivity.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

How a scrawny kid from Oak Bay bulked into one of rugby sevens’ best

Doing it for Dylan, Oak Bay’s Connor Braid at the top of his game

Volunteer garbage-picker regularly stuff bags with Prospect Lake Road litter

Resident says trash is an indicator of dangerous cut-through traffic

Art takes a personal tone during the 110th anniversary of the Victoria Sketch Club

The 47th annual art show is taking place until March 24

Used books on sale at Nellie McClung library branch in Saanich this weekend

Admission of $10 Sunday afternoon when all books are free

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

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

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Baby left alone in vehicle in Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

Most Read