A property owner staged a protest this afternoon at his property on West Saanich Road in Saanich.
Sam Seera is upset that twenty homeless campers arrived at his property, and set up their tents, without his permission.
The tenters arrived at the property on Tuesday after they maxed out the days allowed at Goldstream Park. The group had previously been evicted from the two former tent cities in Saanich.
Saanich mayoral candidate David Shabib, the father of one Seera’s tenants, invited the campers to stay at the property without first getting approval from Seera. But the tenant is not at the property, leaving Seera to deal with his unhappy tenants and 20 homeless campers.
But there appears to be a development.
On Thursday afternoon, Seera met with the Chrissy Brent, the tent city organizer.
“So, let’s work on this. I’m hoping after this we can have a discussion and make a game plan. I would like to ask for some help if there is a place they can go to. I’m willing to offer any resources, money wise, time-wise. I have lots of friends and family here who can offer help as well,” Seera said.
When the group of campers were at Goldstream Provincial Park, they were offered space at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, which has 25 spots, and other facilities in the Victoria area that can accommodate groups, couples and others with care and support needs.
“We’re asking Saanich and the provincial government to come up with a solution so it’s not left on a private landowner to come up with a solution,” Brett said.
Seera is clear. The campers cannot stay on his property. But he said that he hopes all this publicity on the situation with the campers highlights the need to the issue of housing the homeless.
The District of Saanich is investigating whether the campers are violating Saanich Bylaws. And the Saanich Police Department is exploring options for moving the campers through the Trespass Act and the Residential Tenancy Act. Police are closely monitoring the camp.