WATCH: Homeless campers and residents in the Goldstream Provincial Park area both want the gates to the campground at the park opened. Luisa Alvarez has more.
Supporters of the homeless campers at Goldstream Provincial Park are calling for the gates to be open.
In a release on Monday, Alliance Against Displacement said it was time to open up the campground at the park and stop the government from “isolating homeless, Indigenous and working-class people from their families and support.”
The campground was closed for public safety last week after about 30 homeless people, who had previously been at the two former tent cities in Saanich, moved to the park. RCMP and Langford Mayor Stew Young have said there is a spike in crime linked to the tent city.
According to Alliance Against Displacement, a group of Pauquachin women who were visiting their niece and taking food to all of the campers were denied entry. The women talked about it in a video that has been posted to Facebook.
WATCH: Gaëlle Rossi posted this video of the group of Pauquachin women talking about being denied entry to the camp.
There have been other reports from people who were trying to deliver food. John Overholt, a pastor from Victoria’s Encounter Church, said he tried going to the campground on Friday but also could not get in.
“I was told that only a few essential services were being permitted to enter. I presume that spiritual support is not one of them,” Overholt wrote in a Facebook post.
Alliance Against Displacement said they are also concerned that the provincial government has closed off camping to the rest of the public including other homeless people who were in the area before the former Camp Namegans residents arrived.
“The province and their police henchmen are whipping up an anti-homeless and anti-Indigenous frenzy, relying on the public’s already hostile attitude toward the homeless and further legitimizing it in order to push their political agenda, which is to destroy the collective power of organized homeless people and so that homelessness can remain invisible and therefore, not a responsibility of the NDP. Safety is being together with access to emotional, physical, and spiritual support, not living in an open-air prison,” the alliance said in a statement.
Alliance Against Displacement is asking the public to contact BC Housing, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson and Premier John Horgan about opening the gate. The gate is currently staffed 24 hours and only the group of approximately 30 campers are allowed in.
Langford residents, who are frustrated with the campers in the park, are also demanding the gate be opened. During a meeting at Ma Miller’s Pub over the weekends, dozens of residents voice their concerns about the tent city and said members of the community should be able to see what is going on.