A flurry of activity has centered on Goldstream Park today.
The Camp Namegans group, who had been told on Wednseday that they must vacate the area before 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, have been told they can stay on the grounds for two weeks.
Two weeks is the maximum length of stay in any provincial park, and is the amount of time that the homeless campers had originally planned on staying there.
“While the park is not an appropriate place for the establishment of a tent city, BC Parks is not asking the homeless campers to leave at this time,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in a statement.
Despite being allowed to stay, Robinson stressed that “we urge those at Goldstream to work with staff to identify better housing solutions.”
While those of Camp Namegans are allowed to stay, all other campers were forced to leave, and the gates are closed to newcomers.
“Following concerns expressed by the RCMP, the campground was closed to ensure public safety,” Said Robinson. “People with reservations will be refunded.”
Heated confrontations also erupted on Thursday, as angry Langford residents spoke with the approximately 30 homeless campers.
RCMP remained in the area to step in and calm the situation.
“RCMP continues to work with park staff to ensure the safety of homeless campers, the site, and surrounding communities,” said Robinson.
“Our goal is to get people into shelters and longer-term housing. In the short term, we are opening a shelter at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, with space for 25 people, starting on Oct. 1. We are also continuing to offer rent supplements to help people find housing in the private market.”
There is no statement on when the park will be reopened for visitors.