The City of Victoria has confirmed its bylaw officers removed the showers that were installed by a community group on Nov. 7.
The city said the two homemade showers were unauthorized, as were other structures that were removed, including a large cistern and two large tent structures operating as a community tent.
The city said it will be storing the items until the owners claim them.
“We understand the desire of individuals to want to assist people sheltering in the park, however, we cannot allow structures without permits in parks, especially ones that are using gas generators and that pose fire risks, health and safety risks, and are damaging the environment,” the city said in a statement.
“City bylaw officers and other staff have had many discussions over the past few weeks with the individuals operating these unauthorized structures to offer to assist with possible solutions, including exploring alternative locations outside the park to establish these services. They have simply declined to work with us to find an alternative solution, leaving us no choice but to remove the structures today.
The city said it is continuing to work closely with BC Housing and the provincial government to find housing or indoor shelter for all homeless individuals sleeping in city parks. The city said it is working with community organizations to support people who are sleeping outside.
The city said it also has a $100,000 grant program available for groups and community organizations who can provide mobile hygiene and other social services to people sheltering outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And the city said it is providing additional financial support to Our Place to expand their shower facility so it can be open to the public 13 hours daily, 7 days a week.
As of Friday afternoon, a group has been at Victoria City Hall, protesting the city’s decision to remove the structures.