Saanich man says he’s powerless to remove homeless camp that sprung up on his property
A Saanich property owner says he feels powerless to evict the 20 homeless campers who have moved onto his land.
The campers started to set up on Sam Seera’s 1.4-acre property on West Saanich Road earlier this week.
They were apparently invited to move in by David Shebib, a mayoral candidate who is a tenant on the property where he lives with his son.
“I didn’t believe it,” said Seera after learning the campers had made his property their home.
“I thought I could get them for trespassing, but it doesn’t look like that right now. Apparently, they have more rights than I do.”
WATCH: Homeless campers protest at Goldstream Park
5090 West Saanich Road is the latest in a string of locations the roaming tent city has set up.
Over the course of five months, the camp’s initial location at Regina Park grew to more than 300 people. After being evicted, they settled into a two-week stay at Goldstream Provincial Campground.
As of Tuesday, BC Housing confirms all remaining campers had been offered shelter.
Dee Dee Patenaude turned it down, and told Global News it didn’t meet her needs.
“Two beds beside each other is not adequate for me and my husband, because we lay together,” she said.
WATCH: Saanich homeless camp moved again
Camp organizer, Chrissy Brett said Shebib’s invitation was too good to pass up.
“Why would any of us not take someone up on that offer, with our own thinking that this was good will, good faith?”
Shebib could not be reached for comment Thursday. He left town as soon as the campers arrived.
After contacting police, bylaw, even lawyers, Seera said his only course of action is to evict the campers through the Residential Tenancy Act, which could take up to a month.
Right now, he’s worried about what might happen to his land in the meantime.
WATCH: B.C. Supreme Court orders Saanich tent city dismantled
“My biggest concern is contamination, like what happened at the other sites,” said Seera.
“It cost upwards of a million dollars to clean it up. So, I’m checking into that as to who is going to pay for that. Is insurance going to cover it, do I have to cover it, is the property going to be condemned? There is no precedent for this, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody.”
Late Thursday, Seera met with Brett to try and come to an amicable solution.
They told the media they plan to go back to the provincial government and ask it to provide land for the campers where they would be permitted to stay 24 hours a day.
Both parties have yet to agree on a deadline for their departure from Seera’s property.
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