Saanich police say officers will remain on site until all occupants of the Regina Park tent city have left.
Officers have set up a command centre and put up fencing around the tent city after some campers defied a court order to leave the area.
In a release Wednesday morning, Saanich police say many of the occupants will require assistance to leave the park and authorities are conducting a phased approach to help occupants comply with a court injunction to vacate the park.
We’ve moved our #Saanich command vehicle to Regina Park. In order to enforce the BC Supreme Court order entrance/access to the park is now limited to authorized people. We’re hoping those still encamped there will leave voluntarily. pic.twitter.com/I6Lt1h9UMN
— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) September 12, 2018
On Friday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted the District of Saanich and the province an injunction against the camp for tent city residents to remove the encampment which had been in place since April.
The district is in the process of putting a fence around Regina Park to allow for remediation to begin.
Police say the removal of the encampment will allow the district and province to address fire risks and other hazards to remediate the park, which is expected to take two or three weeks to complete.
Once it is cleaned up, the park will reopen and be among more than 100 parks in Saanich that a parks and management control bylaw will allow temporary overnight sheltering between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m.
Hygiene stations, including washrooms and showers and a storage facility at Saanich municipal hall, will stay open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for those who are looking for temporary overnight shelter.
Saanich police remain hopeful those in the encampment will depart Regina Park peacefully.
“We want everyone to know we’ll attempt all reasonable measures to achieve voluntary compliance before enforcement action is taken,” said Sgt. Jereme Leslie in a release.
Campers have said the city promised they would supply storage for larger valuable items but containers are not expected to arrive until Thursday. The District of Saanich has confirmed it is working with a provider to arrange the storage, which will be on a case-by-case basis.
The storage is not part of a court order but is being done internally. Saanich’s legal counsel has told the court Saanich intended to provide pre-paid 30-day storage. There have been delays and Saanich is now planning on paying for 60 days. In the meantime, a large number of small tote containers have been given to some of the campers and the district will store them temporarily.