Victoria council moves ahead with camping ban in Irving, Vic West parks

Victoria council moves ahead with camping ban in Irving, Vic West parks
Staff says all people who were camping in Irving and Vic West parks on April 18 have been housed or are in the process of being housed.

The expansion of the camping ban to two more Victoria parks has passed the next step after a 6-3 vote in council.

The bylaw amendment still has to come back for final adoption to council, which staff said will come back in July. If passed, camping in Vic West and Irving parks would be banned starting on Aug. 1.

Staff said that all residents who were camping in those two parks on April 18 when the bylaw passed in committee of the whole have been housed or are in the process of being housed.

READ PREVIOUS: Irving, Vic West parks may be added to Victoria overnight sheltering ban

If passed, this would mean that camping is only permitted in three parks in Victoria: Oaklands, Pemberton and Gonzales parks.

The motion also came with the expectation that council would report back on new indoor or outdoor shelter spaces to support homeless people who were not living in those parks and still are not connected with housing.

Coun. Krista Loughton asked for an update on that work in the June 27 daytime council meeting, and staff said the update on that was coming to council in camera, which means the information will not be publicly available.

Loughton said she hoped information could become publicly available because this ban expansion is causing stress among the unhoused community.

She did raise concerns that council was moving ahead with this without knowing how many unhoused people are in Victoria, as well as what supports and shelters are going to be available to the remaining unhoused people.

Staff said that the report would be coming to the closed council meeting on Thursday, and the decision still needed to come back for final adoption.

Coun. Marg Gardiner said she is in support of this because it puts pressure on higher levels of government to act to address the increasing numbers of homeless people.

Coun. Chris Coleman said the ultimate goal of this and similar motion is to stop camping in parks, which is not an adequate solution to homelessness, and to put pressure on higher levels of government to act.


Couns. Susan Kim, Dave Thompson and Stephen Hammond voted in opposition to the motion.

Kim, who originally voted in favour of the motion at committee of the whole, said she changed her mind after hearing that unhoused people were facing bureaucratic hurdles to accessing housing.

Thompson said his concerns remain that these bans force people further out and further away from exisiting support services.

Hammond did not speak to this motion at the council meeting, but previously said he opposes motions that identify places in the city where sheltering would be allowed.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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