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Goldstream Provincial Park campground closed after homeless campers move in

WATCH: A Saanich homeless camp has been moved for the third time in less than a week. As Kylie Stanton reports, the residents are asking the public to help find a space for them.

Former residents of a tent city in Saanich have relocated to a provincial campground.

The group planned to camp in the park, located 16 kilometres from downtown Victoria, for two weeks, the longest anyone is allowed to stay in a provincial campground.

There was a large police presence outside the park Thursday as campers were ordered out earlier this week.

A parks staffer said the campers were given a 24-hour extension, but the Ministry of Environment later said there was a miscommunication and no deadline is in place.

The ministry went on to say the campground remains closed until further notice, but the park remains open for day use.

WATCH: Removal of Saanich tent city highlights bigger problems

Removal of Saanich tent city highlights bigger problems
Removal of Saanich tent city highlights bigger problems

There were heated exchanges between campers and local residents outside the park gates on Thursday.

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“They’re just providing shelter for themselves and it’s their constitutional right to do just that,” one campsite supporter told residents, some of whom expressed concern over a spike in crime in the area.

RCMP have heard reports of crime in the park, but said it’s too soon to tell if they can be attributed to the homeless campers.

Campers were evicted from a controversial Saanich tent city at Regina Park earlier this month after the District of Saanich and the B.C. government had been seeking an injunction to shut it down, citing criminal activity, fire safety, and road safety.

About 30 residents set up a new camp at a location near Carey Road and Ravine Way before moving to Goldstream Provincial Park on Tuesday.

Housing Minister Selina Robinson said in a news release the province is working with the campers to provide support and find longer-term housing

— With files from Kylie Stanton, Erin Ubels and The Canadian Press