Friday, June 14, 2024

Victoria given green light to continue ban on sheltering at Beacon Hill Park

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In a ruling issued Thursday, the BC Supreme Court concluded that sheltering at Beacon Hill Park is not permitted under the Trustee Act.

The response comes after the City of Victoria filed a petition under the Act asking the court to clarify how it should manage and operate the park.

According to Mr. Justice Punnett, the terms of the trust prohibit sheltering in the park.

The court noted that they would provide advice, however, they would not make orders on any action that the city must take, as it is up to them as the trustee.

We are grateful to the court for its opinion and advice to clarify this question and the nature of the trust for the City and the community,” said Mayor Lisa Helps.

“Today’s ruling brings clarity on how this deeply valued park can be used by the public and how it should be managed and operated by the City. It is important for the City to have a definitive answer to this question once and for all.”

The City of Victoria said it is currently reviewing the court’s decision. However, no immediate changes are expected after council approved a two-year ban on sheltering in Beacon Hill Park in June 2021.

According to Mayor Lisa Helps, the two-year ban was to allow the environment time to recover from the effects of campers, as ongoing sheltering had a substantial impact on the Garry Oak ecosystems. 

The City of Victoria, along with BC Housing, procured and offered housing to anyone displaced by the order.

“Sheltering in parks is not a solution to homelessness and we are working closely with the Province and our partners to achieve functional zero homelessness in the Capital Region,” said Helps.

For more information on sheltering in parks, visit the City of Victoria’s website.

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