WATCH: Police say device that promoted serious downtown Victoria bomb scare was deliberately planted. Tess van Straaten has the latest.
A day after a disturbing bomb scare at the Yates Street Parkade, police say they believe the device was deliberately planted.
“What we’re talking about isn’t some bag left behind,” says Victoria Police spokesperson Bowen Osoko. “What we’re talking about is what we can confidently call a device of some sort.”
The parkade and Yates Street had to be cordoned off and nearby buildings evacuated Wednesday morning after a suspicious device was found inside the busy city-run parkade.
The shutdown trapped about 300 vehicles inside the parkade, stranding drivers.
“If there is a potential threat to live safety in our downtown, we’re going to err on the side of caution,” Victoria mayor Lisa Helps told CHEK News.”Our parking ambassadors drove people home, we gave people bus tickets and one of our parking ambassadors even drove someone to work all the way in Mill Bay so he wouldn’t get fired.”
Victoria Police brought in a robot, sniffer dog and x-ray machine but couldn’t clear the package and had to call in the RCMP bomb squad.
It took hours for the team to arrive from Mainland and about seven hours after the saga started, the bomb squad decided to carry out controlled detonations.
Police say the device was inert but definitely cause for concern.
“It looked like a bomb, it resembled a bomb, absolutely,” Osoko says. “We’re not going to close off a downtown street for nine hours for idle speculation.”
Although city staff did everything they could to lessens the impact of the parkade closure and street closure, the incident is raising the question about whether Greater Victoria should have its own bomb squad so we don’t have to wait for one to come from the Mainland.
“Do taxpayers want to pay more for that? It’s a good question,” says Helps. “It’s also a regional question so maybe if there’s a regional approach to policing that’s something we could consider.”
Victoria Police say even with our own bomb squad, the process still would have taken a few hours.
Investigators are now trying to track down whoever was responsible.