As of 5:30 p.m. on Thursday evening, all of the residents at the Regina Park tent city packed up their belongings and evacuated the park in compliance with a BC Supreme Court order.
This order was issued last week, and gave campers until 7 p.m. on September 11th to evacuate, but residents of ‘Camp Namegans’ alleged that the district of Saanich had given them until 5 p.m. on Friday, September 14th to leave.
Saanich police responded to the allegations on Twitter, stating that “They were never given a deadline of Friday at 5pm. All were informed they were in breach of the court order as of 7pm on Sept 11 (if they remained).”
Now that Regina Park has been vacated, the District of Saanich will begin the park remediation process, bringing in fireproof wood chips and testing the soil for contamination.
Fencing has been installed around Regina Park, and the Supreme Court injunction prohibiting camping at the park is expected to remain in place for 8 months.
Camp Namegans relocates
The people living in Regina Park have now moved to Rudd Park, which is about 10 minutes away from the former by foot.
Saanich bylaws state that 102 parks in the district can be used for overnight camping from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m.
According to the Camp Namegans Facebook group, campers at Rudd Park are allegedly being targeted by “vigilantes”, as “fire works [were] shot at tents” last night.
Saanich police tweeted on Friday morning that they have spoken to people camping at Rudd Park to inform them of the municipality’s Parks bylaw.
Police will also be escorting campers back to Regina Park between 10 a.m and 2 p.m. today to retrieve the remainder of their belongings.
Today at 845AM we were at Rudd Park in #saanich speaking with people who were seeking overnight shelter. There were around 10-12 tents & people were informed of the Parks Bylaw https://t.co/ti8u70jMyt pic.twitter.com/VEsG8yLgC6
— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) September 14, 2018
In response to the Supreme Court ruling, residents of the Saanich tent city dubbed ‘Camp Namegans’, are planning to host a “Nowhere to Go Rally!” in Rudd Park this evening.
According to the event description, the rally is to protest the “normalization of homelessness in BC” and is expected to take place on Friday, September 14th, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The original location of the rally was Regina Park, but organizers changed it to Rudd Park after Saanich police blocked the entrance to the former.
About 30 residents of #CampNamegans headed to Rudd Park to camp for the night. Kicked out of Regina Park tonight at 5. Campers are allowed back at 10am to retrieve belongings. pic.twitter.com/paPGWahgOZ
— Ashley Molli (@aimollison) September 14, 2018