The campers at “InTent City” on Victoria’s courthouse lawn were served notices on Friday from provincial representatives – they must vacate the area by Feb 25th due to safety concerns.
The notice was given at the same time the province announced it had secured two properties for transitional housing and shelter. This is the eviction letter they received:
February 5, 2016
TO: Campers on Victoria Courthouse Lands
FROM: The Province of British Columbia
SUBJECT: Notice to Leave Courthouse Lands
This notice is issued under section 4 of the Trespass Act with respect to the Victoria Courthouse lands located behind the Courthouse between Blanshard, Courtenay and Quadra Streets and Burdett Avenue. All camping at this location must cease and all tents and other personal property must be removed by no later than February 25, 2016.
While the Province appreciates the complex issues you face, an increasing number of serious incidents have arisen in connection with the current encampment on the Courthouse lands that pose an ongoing unacceptable risk to public safety. The risks are to campers, as well as to the general public.
Campers on the Courthouse lands will need to make alternate arrangements for shelter as soon as possible. To help with the transition, Our Place Society and Cool Aid Society, working with B.C. Housing, is available to work with you to connect you with shelter and other government support services such as health care and counselling.
Staff from Cool Aid and Our Place will be available on site to provide access to housing options and other supports.
The Province will be providing an additional 88 units of transitional housing and shelter, as well as 40 rent supplements for campers currently residing at the Victoria courthouse lawns. This will include 38 transitional housing units at the Mt. Edwards Court Care Home at 1002 Vancouver Street (operated by the Victoria Cool Aid Society) and 50 shelter units in the Victoria Youth Custody Centre building at 94 Talcott Road in View Royal (operated by Our Place Society).
Campers who prefer to remain outdoors have the option of setting up tents in the courtyard at the View Royal shelter, which can accommodate at least 20 tents.
Semi-permanent structures at the courthouse site need to be dismantled and the land needs to be restored.