WATCH: Residents of Victoria’s tent city appear to be trying to comply with a fire order set to be enforced Friday afternoon
B.C.’s Fire Commissioner has given the residents until Friday at 3 p.m. to comply with an order that he issued in May.
If they don’t comply the order calls for the province to dismantle the homeless camp immediately due to safety reasons.
Provincial fire officials were at tent city Thursday afternoon, inspecting the site to see how residents are coming along with their attempts at compliance.
The order requires having a metre of space around each tent, removing all tarps or replacing them with fire-retardant ones, and removing combustible structures.
The campers have said they can’t comply with the spacing requirements because there are simply too many people, and tents, on site.
But now the province has asked Our Place Society to take on 20 additional people at its Choices Transitional shelter, to move some people out immediately.
“Our hope is if there are fewer people here it’ll be easier to comply because they can put more spaces between the tents and it won’t be such a fire hazard,” said Our Place Executive Director Don Evans.
“We’ve got interest from about 10 people so far, so we’ll continue to talk to people here and assess their interest and hopefully we can get enough people to move out of here over the weekend,” he said.
The fire order is separate from an injunction hearing that took place in Supreme Court earlier this week.
In that case, the province is asking the courts to allow it to phase-out camping on the site.
The judge in the injunction hearing has reserved his decision likely until next week.
If the campers can’t comply with the fire order by Friday, it’s possible they could be forced to leave the property anyway.