Police ask for 'voluntary compliance' in clearing out Saanich homeless camp
District staff setting up fencing around Regina Park as officers enforce court order
Saanich police say they're prepared to remain at the site of a tent city in Regina Park until it's completely empty.
Staff members from the District of Saanich were placing fencing around the park Wednesday morning as officers prepared to enforce a court injunction issued last week, according to a police statement.
"We will continue to treat the vulnerable persons vacating the park with dignity and care through the decampment process," Sgt. Jereme Leslie said in the statement.
Only authorized people will now be allowed in.
Leslie said the police department is legally obliged to enforce the Sept. 7 B.C. Supreme Court order.
"It is our hope those encamped at Regina Park depart that space peacefully. We want everyone to know we'll attempt all reasonable measures to achieve voluntary compliance before enforcement action is taken," he said.
"There are still a number of people here. This encampment has been going on since around April so several months have gone by. People have accumulated a significant amount of property at Regina park so right now we're in the process of assisting them, gathering their belongings."
District staff are removing left behind belongings from the park and community members are offering to help the campers find places to go. <a href="https://t.co/tnvsN7TMiM">pic.twitter.com/tnvsN7TMiM</a>—@lizziepetra
After the injunction was issued last week, residents of the encampment were told they needed to be gone by Tuesday at 7 p.m.
More than 100 people have been living in the tent city known as Camp Namegans, which was set up this spring in a grassy space next to Highway 1.
Community organizers told CBC earlier this week that many of the campers have nowhere else to go.
The district cited safety concerns, including fire hazards, in its court petition to clear out the camp.
We’ve moved our <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Saanich?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Saanich</a> command vehicle to Regina Park. In order to enforce the BC Supreme Court order entrance/access to the park is now limited to authorized people. We’re hoping those still encamped there will leave voluntarily. <a href="https://t.co/I6Lt1h9UMN">pic.twitter.com/I6Lt1h9UMN</a>—@SaanichPolice