WATCH: A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ordered Victoria’s tent city be dismantled. April Lawrence reports live from tent city.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ordered Victoria’s tent city be dismantled.
In his ruling released in the last hour, Chief Justice Hinkson found that “the Encampment poses a health and safety risk to both its residents and the residents and businesses in the area.”
and “the Encampment poses a fire safety risk to both its residents and the residents and businesses in the area.”
as well as “violence and criminal activities at the Encampment have markedly increased since March of this year to the point where the Encampment is unsafe.”
First praising the province’s efforts to find more transitional housing for the homeless campers at tent city, Justice Hinkson concluded that “the Encampment is unsafe for those living there and for the neighbouring residents and businesses and cannot be permitted to continue.”
and “The residents of the Encampment can no longer remain where they are pending the trial of the plaintiffs’ action against them, and the Encampment must be closed.”
He says no new campers will be allowed to take up residence at tent city and and those living in there now must remove all structures, tents, shelters and cease to occupy or reside there no later than August 8th.
That’s when work at a former care facility the province has bought on Johnson Street to accommodate more tent city residents is expected to be completed.
“Finally everybody’s going to relax again and (we) get our park back.”
Tent city advocate Christine Brett said it was fabulous news for the 140 homeless people that will now be able to fill up the facility on Johnson Street.
“It doesn’t address the 1400 homeless here in Victoria obviously or the homeless across B.C. or across Canada,” she added.
The B.C. Minister Responsible for Housing welcomed the decision.
Rich Coleman says “we have a transition plan in place for the people at the camp at the courthouse, we will continue to relocate them to the appropriate shelter in an orderly and cooperative way with them.”
“We have the units available for people to move into.”
The Victoria Police Department has issued a statement saying it is reviewing the details of the decision and is working with its partners to determine next steps.
Read Justice Hinkson’s decision here.
Listen to Housing Minister Rich Coleman’s full statement here.