Namegans Nation, the tent city group, moved to Woodwynn Farm Friday night and on Saturday afternoon Central Saanich police arrested 10 people for mischief.
Organizers say roughly 15-20 campers were on site and both entrances to the area were guarded by police Saturday afternoon, who made the arrests – including Chrissy Brett according to a video she posted to Facebook.
In the 8-minute video officers can be seen in the distance, including one holding a gun. That’s when Brett moves toward the officers and asks if they’re going to shoot her.
The final frame of the video shows another camper being handcuffed before an officer says, “You’re under arrest,” and the video goes black.
Police say campers removed gates at the agricultural property located at 779 West Saanich Road just after 10 p.m. Friday night. They drove vehicles onto the property and began establishing an encampment.
Woodwynn Farms is now owned and managed by the Provincial Rental Housing Corporation.
“Central Saanich Police Service officers responded and met with the organizer and several members of the group who identified themselves as the Namegans Nation or Camp Namegans,” read part of a statement from the Central Saanich Police Service.
“Police also spoke with representatives from BC Housing who instructed the police to remove the individuals. Repeated attempts to have the group voluntarily leave the property were unsuccessful.”
On Saturday morning police gave the group another opportunity to leave voluntarily, but say campers chose to barricade the entrance to the property.
All 10 people arrested will be released on conditions that they do not return to the property.
Roving tent city moves again
The group had most recently settled at Cattle Point in Oak Bay beginning Oct. 17. Over the past year tent city’s homeless camp has set up in more than 20 locations.
In a statement on the Camp Namegans Facebook page Saturday, the group said:
“Namegans Nation is now occupying Woodwynn Farm, which is on B.C. ministry of housing property. BC housing has failed to provide homeless people with adequate, permanent and safe housing options, which [is] why we chose to occupy this site to house people who need a place to stay.”
“At this time, we are calling for supporters to come out and show their support on the ground. If you need a ride or have question about the location of this site, send us a private message.”
In a different post on the Facebook page they said they would like trailers to be brought to the property until “modular housing land is identified by Saanich and 60 Namegans Nation are housed in it.”
– With files from Keri Coles