Uniformed officers will be at controlled access points in James Bay this Saturday, say police.
The Victoria Police Department said in a press release issued Thursday that controlled access points near the B.C. Legislature will be “fully staffed” on Saturday in anticipation of potential planned protests.
Controlled local vehicle traffic access to James Bay has been in place since March 19, following concerns from residents over frequent weekend protests at the B.C. Legislature that saw hundreds of cars and people descend on the neighbourhood. Officers, however, have not always been staffed at the access points, and have allowed access to the area by foot, bicycle, taxi and B.C. Transit, to local residents, businesses, as well as those attending religious services and visiting friends and family.
“Since the James Bay local vehicle-only access area went into effect we have had non-local vehicles attempt to access the area. This occurred each day last week, requiring daily staffing at the access points,” the department said in its release.
However, in recent days, fewer and fewer vehicles have attempted to gain access to the area, according to VicPD, who say they have moved to a more “relaxed posture” in order to minimize the disruption for James Bay residents and businesses. Officers have now switched to conducting mobile patrols in the area and VicPD says communication between protest organizers remains ongoing.
“We also continue to communicate with protest organizers with the goal of minimizing disruption to the public while facilitating their right to safe, peaceful and lawful protest. VicPD supports safe, peaceful and lawful protest.”
Nevertheless, with a possible protest at the B.C. Legislature on Saturday, VicPD say the fully staffed access points will return. Additionally, VicPD says their temporarily monitored CCTV cameras remain in the area of the B.C. Legislature and will be taken down once protests have ended.