Residents that were evicted this week from a controversial Saanich tent city have set up camp at a new location.
Police moved in to enforce a court injunction clearing Camp Namegans in Saanich’s Regina Park on Thursday evening.
Ashley Mollison with the Alliance Against Displacement says about 30 of the residents set up their new camp Friday night.
“I would expect over the weekend we will greatly increase out numbers. There were about 100 people that were displaced from camp Namegans,” Mollison said.
Namegans campers were temporarily allowed back into the fenced-off Regina park on Friday morning to gather their belongings. Later, they moved to the new location near Carey Road and Ravine Way.
WATCH: Removal of Saanich tent city highlights bigger problems
Mollison said the new spot near Highway 1 was picked for a reason.
“We wanted to move this fight to provincial land to send a clear message to the government that this is a provincial issue and it needs to be dealt with at a provincial level,” she said.
Last week, a BC Supreme Court Judge ordered the occupants out by the evening of September 11.
Both the District of Saanich and the BC government had been seeking an injunction to shut it down, citing criminal activity, fire safety, and road safety.
In a statement, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said the safety of campers is their first priority, and as a judge recently ruled, living along a highway is not safe for people to be camping. The situation has shone an even bright light on the fact that people do not have enough affordable and supportive housing options in the region.
It goes on to say that homelessness is a critical issue in Saanich and across the province, adding that that is why the BC government is partnering with communities throughout the province to build more than 2,000 new modular homes. In the meantime, will continue to do everything we can to support people who are experiencing homelessness, including those at the new homeless camp.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs said they remain committed to its long-standing offer of funding to the District of Saanich to build new supportive housing.