City of Victoria bylaw officials will soon be introducing a three-and-a-half-hour parking time limit on Dallas Road enforced 24/7.
This comes after much debate about vans and RVs parking overnight along the road. Under Victoria’s bylaws, it’s illegal to sleep in a vehicle overnight. However, it happens anyway.
It’s become a problem for residents who live in the area, like Janice Williams. She’s been living near Dallas Road for 11 years and has noticed an increase in the number of RVs parking near the park over the last three years.
“It’s being monopolized by a select group of people who have asserted a right to essentially set up their houses there and not respect the neighbourhood, not be good neighbours,” she said. “What we’re asking for is for people to respect the laws and bylaws that are here so that everyone can enjoy the park, so that it can be used for people across the region.”
After a neighbour found human feces while out on a walk, Williams decided enough was enough. She started an online petition last Wednesday, asking for city council to step in.
Nearly a week later, it has almost 600 signatures.
On Tuesday, dozens showed up for the mayor’s monthly community drop-in to discuss the petition, including those on the other side of the debate.
“I currently work full-time at a restaurant, I’m starting a course with women in trades at Camosun in April, and for the first time, I’m actually able to save money and think for my future,” said Amanda Mackenzie, who lives in a van.
Although Mackenzie lives in a van because she likes the lifestyle, others do it because it’s more of a necessity, including Jasper Sunshine.
“I’m a disabled veteran on a government pension so I do have a limited amount of money coming in every month,” said Sunshine, “And buying a house or renting isn’t feasible for me.”
The solution, Mayor Lisa Helps said, is housing.
“We need solutions where people can actually afford to live in our cities, not just in Victoria but across the country and across the province,” she said after the drop-in session.
Sunshine said he understands the concerns residents have and he has his own solution.
“If I choose Dallas Road one night, [I’ll] move onto the next [road after],” he explained. “There’s no real reason for me to be there other than the view that it provides — the same reason that people choose to buy or rent houses there.”