Province shuts down Victoria tent city, housing offered to all campers
UPDATE (Aug. 12, 2016): Homes have now been provided or offered to everyone at the Victoria courthouse site and the encampment shut down, in accordance with Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson’s earlier ruling.
The deadline for campers at Victoria’s tent city passed yesterday and it could be awhile before it’s completely cleared out.
The clean up of the camp is expected to cost the province an estimated $300,000.
Dozens of people have been living in the camp since the fall, but last month the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the province to close the camp based on safety concerns.
Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson said in his decision that violence and criminal activity at the camp had “markedly increased.”
Supporters said the provincial government was not prioritizing the well-being of the homeless population at the camp.
Advocates argued the camp provided a safer alternative for homeless than the street.
The province first attempt to shut down the camp back in April was rejected by the courts.
The Supreme Court ruling said anyone without a place to live must identify themselves so provincial officials can help them find housing.
The permanent closing may take longer than expected as residents are supposed to move into a downtown housing complex that was recently purchased by the provincial government. The building has had roughly 70 campers move in but according to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, there are two more floors that need to be renovated.
The province has provided more than 190 spaces for Victoria’s homeless since last October.
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.