A group of homeless campers that moved from Saanich to Oak Bay on Wednesday night have been issued a notice to cease encampment and have been told to leave immediately.
After receiving a trespass notice and a notice of unauthorized use and occupation from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the group of about 20 people who had set up on land adjacent to Highway 17 packed up their belongings into two U-Haul trucks.
They headed to Clover Point before setting up at Cattle Point in Uplands Park around 7 p.m. Wednesday.
On Thursday morning, Oak Bay police handed camp leader Chrissy Brett an invoice for costs associated with the group’s occupation of a public park in Oak Bay last fall near the cenotaph. The invoice is for a total of $1,882.65.
“We will send them an invoice for running the only open air shelter and only shelter that oak bay has offered in the last number of years that we provided last year for three weeks,” said Brett.
Police have also told the campers that they are in breach of Oak Bay’s bylaws and they cannot put up tents or structures in an Oak Bay park without a permit. Police said they enforced the same bylaw on a group of campers from West Vancouver who spent the night in Oak Bay. Police said those individuals left immediately and without incident once they were told about the bylaw.
Oak Bay police also said they have received a complaint from the District of Oak Bay that campers are interfering with the lawful use of that area of the park by others and are rendering it inoperative to others. Police said this constitutes the criminal offence of mischief.
By Thursday evening, the District of Oak Bay had issued a notice to cease encampment upon Uplands Park to the campers.
Camp Namegans is disputing the bylaw and said homeless people have a right to shelter when no shelter exists. Since they were removed from Regina Park back in September, the homeless campers have gone to Rudd Park in Saanich, provincial land near Ravine Way in Saanich, Goldstream Provincial Park, a private property on West Saanich Road and the provincial land off the Patricia Bay Highway.
At one point, there were 115 campers in Regina Park but there are now 20 campers remaining.