Residents of a homeless camp on Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure land near the Saanich Municipal Hall have been handed a trespass notice.
On Monday afternoon, Alliance Against Displacement tweeted photos of a trespass notice and notice of unauthorized use and occupation handed out by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
The Ministry of Transportation delivered both a notice of unauthorized occupation and a trespass notice, which means that police can move in and dismantle the camp anytime from now on. pic.twitter.com/I4ZQ7601SS
— Against Displacement (@stopdisplacemnt) October 15, 2018
The notices inform the campers that the occupation of the land adjacent to Highway 17, between Tolmie Road and Sayward Road, are under the control of the ministry and that they must move immediately.
“If you do not cease your occupation of the Lands, you will be trespassing pursuant to the Trespass Act. You are directed to immediately vacate the Lands. Failure to do so is an offence under the Trespass Act,” the trespass notice read.
The homeless campers were also advised that pursuant to the Trespass Act, a peace officer can arrest without a warrant any person found on the land.
The tent city residents moved to the new location on Saturday. Prior to their move, they had been staying on private property in Saanich but left after nearly two weeks following a request from the property owner.
“I think Saanich is a municipality that’s never had to deal with homelessness because they’ve always managed to push it or sweep it back to Victoria where homeless services are so it’s really new and we’re coming into an election and it’s a bit of a hot potato,” camp organizer Chrissy Brett said.
They originally set up their new location in the Saanich Municipal Hall parking lot and along the highway but were directed by police to all move to the land along the highway. The land is beside the parcel of land that had been offered for modular housing but was found unsuitable by the province.
The land was offered after the campers were removed from land next to Highway 17, Regina Park and Goldstream Park.
Brett said they chose the current location due to the district’s offer of land.
“It’s obviously not something is not reasonable to pick as a place to put modular housing,” Brett said.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said in a statement to CHEK News that the new location in Saanich is not a workable or long-term solution for anyone.