It strikes me that this tent city issue/problem is not going away any time soon. Potential locations for homeless shelters have been suggested at the old Mayfair Lanes site for “modular housing” and the old Emily Carr library branch modified for housing. Modular homes are relatively expensive and renovation costs are at all time highs.
The “campers” seem to prefer the location at Regina Park. This site has no park like amenities and could only be considered as open green space.
Perhaps a solution would be to place shipping containers modified for habitation with a lockable door and a window and basic needs such as a bed platform, table and two chairs fabricated from steel. They would provide a transition from tent life to a more protected environment. The containers are relatively fireproof and vandal proof. Solar lighting could be added.
An 8×20 container could be divided in two with a fireproof wall. A modular toilet/washroom could be placed at the site along with port-a-johns for sanitation. A unit could be set up as a first aid station and to distribute basic needs such as personal products, coffee, information, tiny library, etc. perhaps manned by volunteers. Surplus paint could be provided to enhance the exteriors and interiors, where some residents may express their artistic side and provide a sense of community and self esteem. The residents may even be inspired to perform basic landscape chores and even create a communal vegetable garden.
Providing this type of relatively low-cost accommodation may create a starting point to a more stable lifestyle for the people in that situation. Any site selected for this type of purpose will no doubt receive an outcry from the local residents. Saanich council will have to decide where is best.