Ruling against Regina Park camp represents long-term loss for community

Friday’s court ruling against the homeless camp in Regina Park is a short-sighted victory for law-and-order types, a long-term loss for everybody else.

More than 100 homeless individuals are facing an uncertain future after Justice Ward Branch granted the District of Saanich and the Province of British Columbia an injunction against the homeless camp (Camp Namegans) that had popped up in Regina Park in spring of this year.

Under the terms of the ruling, the residents had until Tuesday, Sept. 11, 7 p.m. to depart the camp, and as of this writing, it is not clear how many followed the orders though it is expected all will be gone by today.

You don’t have to buy the rhetoric of camp leaders (‘death sentence’) to appreciate the harshness of the ruling. By giving residents mere days to depart the site, the ruling shows little sympathy for the practical realities of dissolving of what has become a genuine community, and sends a clear message to other tent cities around the province: time to pack up, you are not wanted here. This marks a major change in the climate when held up against previous court rulings that showed greater sensitivity.

To be absolutely clear: this critique neither questions the legitimacy of the legal process that led to the decision, nor should it appear as an endorsement of the various bylaw violations that the camp represented. Saanich and the province have an obligation to enforce public order and safety, a theory which their legal representatives exploited in their favour. It is also one thing to muse about homelessness in the abstract, another thing to live next to a homeless camp for several months.

But supporters of Friday’s ruling should not be so quick to celebrate. The camp (as it always would be) might be a thing of the past, but the people who stayed in Regina Park and the issues that led them there won’t disappear so quickly, with no immediate recourse on the horizon.

Unless authorities launch a massive counter-strike against the specific shortage of affordable housing and the more general systemic inequities in our society that cause this shortage, tent cities will not remain a temporary phenomena. They will be the norm, and court rulings like Friday’s merely pushes the problem elsewhere. Regina Park, simply put, can be anywhere and everywhere, and we all pay for it one way or another.

Just Posted

Mackenzie Interchange pump failure sends contaminated water into Colquitz River

Sediment release in salmon-bearing river a serious threat to aquatic life, says local activist

WATCH: Booze, weed both have fatal consequences

Video shows how easily impairment affects driving

Catch last call and a cheap ride home: Late night buses coming to Victoria in 2019

New plan will extend service on weekends with last trip leaving downtown at 3 a.m.

1,000 free Christmas meals served at Our Place

Community donations fuel support for those in need

Uvic to launch app to link drug users with Naloxone kits

Researchers have spent the last year developing the Nal-Pal app

Santa visits some of Victoria General Hospital’s littlest patients

Santa flew in to the hospital via air ambulance helicopter

READER POLL: Do you have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner?

What are you having for Christmas dinner? Canadians gobbled up 3.3 million… Continue reading

Bear cubs try to take Vancouver Island woman’s Christmas cookies

Incident happened in the early-morning hours today, Dec. 18, in Nanaimo

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 18, 2018

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

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

Most Read