A sign at the entrance of Goldstream Provincial Park reads “closed” as West Shore RCMP officers stand guard prohibiting the public from entering. Marilou Gagnon photo

A sign at the entrance of Goldstream Provincial Park reads “closed” as West Shore RCMP officers stand guard prohibiting the public from entering. Marilou Gagnon photo

Homeless campers: We want to live together, consider moving to other Victoria area locations

Housing minister expects homeless to leave B.C. campground on Tuesday

A group of homeless people who pitched tents in a B.C. provincial park near Victoria are expected to move into approved shelters and living spaces before a government-imposed deadline, Housing Minister Selina Robinson said Monday.

However, homeless camp spokesperson Chrissy Brett said many members of the group want to live together and are considering moving together to other locations in the Victoria area, including Langford, Saanich and Oak Bay. The campers have previously stayed in those communities over the past year.

Yes, we’re all going to have a place to stay because we’re going to stay together,” she said. “That’s what has kept people together this long is a sense of community and a sense of family.”

RELATED: Province now allowing tent city campers to stay at Goldstream Park

Robinson said people have started moving out of Goldstream Provincial Park and she was confident all members of the group of about 20 campers will be living in new spaces by Tuesday. The park’s campground has been closed since the homeless campers arrived Sept. 20.

“I’m convinced that people will want to leave,” she said, adding that meetings with government support and outreach workers over the past week have addressed many of the needs of the campers, including housing.

“All of the people who’ve been at Goldstream for the last couple of weeks will be in places that are better for them,” Robinson said. “Safer, warmer, drier, with supports.” Steps will also be taken by officials to reopen the park, she said. A spokeswoman for the homeless people at Goldstream said the group plans to leave the park Tuesday morning, but not everybody will move into the housing options the government is providing.

RELATED: Neighbours fear impact of tent city residents on Goldstream Park

The campers arrived at Goldstream park days after they were ousted from provincially owned land in nearby Saanich. Earlier last summer, Saanich used a court order to force the campers from another park that some had occupied since the spring.

On Thursday, the government said campers choosing to staying in the park past Tuesday would be evicted. Some local residents have said they were concerned about potential damage to the park. Heidi Hartman, BC Housing regional director, said the campers can be housed at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, which has 25 spaces, and at other facilities in the Victoria area that can accommodate groups, couples and others with care and support needs.

“We recognize that there’s a diverse group out at the camp and we really want to make sure the folks are met with the supports they need,” she said. Hartman said a storage container was placed at the campground and people were helping the campers with their belongings, which are being transported to downtown Victoria.

Goldstream Park is located within Premier John Horgan’s Langford-Juan de Fuca riding. The park is known for its huge 600-year-old Douglas fir trees and western red cedars. The park’s day use area has remained open.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey is one of four athletes being inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year. Here, she is pictured with her mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
Four new names added to Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

Matt Pettinger, Gwen Spencer Hethey, Peter Lawless and Roger Skillings being inducted

The District of Saanich is accepting nominations for the 2021 Environmental Awards until June 1 at 4 p.m. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Nominations now open for Saanich’s 21st annual Environmental Awards

Awards recognize individuals and organizations making Saanich more sustainable

Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside president Angus Macpherson visited the Wear2Start Society boutique in Victoria to present a cheque to the society’s vice-president Alessandra Ringstad (left) and president Angela Mangiacasale. (Courtesy of Wear2Start)
Rotary club donates over $11,000 to Greater Victoria non-profit for women

Wear2Start Society provides clothing for women in need

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Most Read