People living near Victoria’s tent city are applauding the move to increase funding for police patrols in the area, but say it’s unfortunate it took an increase in violence to get that kind of response.
“It’s also a sad day that the people of Victoria have to foot the bill for this, when it was the provincial government who allowed this in the first place,” said Stephen Hammond, spokesperson for a group of neighbours calling themselves Mad as Hell Victoria.
At a special Victoria city council meeting called Friday afternoon, acting police chief Del Manak called the site unsafe, saying police officers regularly encounter aggression and both residents and service providers have serious concerns.
Councillors unanimously approved spending $113,000 in extra policing costs to patrol the area.
The plan will see two officers patroling a 3- to 5-block radius around tent city for six hours a day, seven days week until June 11.
“In the neighbourhood people are very concerned,” said Hammond. “They are afraid to go out, they are afraid to walk certain parts of the street. It’s not a good thing and we are reading in the paper all the time, where tourists are saying they don’t want to come anywhere near this place.”
Manak said he’s also asked the province to pay for officers to be deployed in tent city itself.
Housing minister Rich Coleman says the province may head back to court as soon as next week to seek another injunction that could shut down tent city if residents don’t comply with an order from the fire commissioner.