Victoria Police have arrested eight people from the homeless camp along Pandora Avenue four days after campers were given the option to move into indoor shelter units.
In a statement issued on Sunday evening, VicPD confirmed that eight campers were arrested on the afternoon of May 24, as police assisted in dismantling the makeshift homeless encampments in the 1000 and 900 blocks of Pandora Ave.
“VicPD officers, City of Victoria Bylaw officers, BC Housing staff, and social services agency staff provided every possible opportunity for those encamped in this area to depart without enforcement action,” reads the statement from police.
The people arrested were taken into police custody and transported to Victoria Police headquarters. Their property has been held in safekeeping and will be returned under the direction of Victoria Bylaw.
An order from the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth that was issued on April 25th provided a deadline for dismantling the homeless encampments at Topaz Park and along Pandora Ave in Victoria, as well as Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver.
For Victoria, that deadline was extended to May 20 by which time the 360 people who had set up camp at those locations were given opportunities to move into hotel or motel rooms, or modular accommodations set up at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
According to VicPD Chief Del Manak, the eight people who were arrested had been given ample opportunity to leave the encampment on their own over the past four days.
In a tweet, Manak says they were told repeatedly of the fact that they were in violation of the Ministerial Order after many of them refused indoor housing that had been offered to them and insisted on staying outside.
Those in custody will be given information on how to retrieve their belongings from bylaw officers.