West Shore RCMP are on scene at Goldstream Provincial Park where supporters of homeless camp Namegans Nation say they are being turned away at the entrance and told the park will be shut down by Thursday at 11 a.m.
“For the third time in a week we’re faced with this eviction process that is enforced by police,” said Marilou Gagnon, an associate professor of nursing at UVic, and supporter of the camp since it began roughly five months ago in Regina Park in Saanich.
The directive to completely evict the park of all campers by 11 a.m. Thursday came down from the Ministry of Environment, according to a park ranger, Gagnon said, adding she was told it was “in the best interests of public safety.”
A sign at the entrance of the park reads “closed.”
Devon: “They are closing down an entire park for 25 people. We paid to be here. We are not harming anyone. We want peace. We want to rest. We are being kicked out again just for being here”. #shame @bcndp ! Come here @jjhorgan to tell ppl to their face that they don’t matter !
— Marilou Gagnon RNPhD (@mlgagnon_XVII) September 20, 2018
“Our tent city has been targeted non-stop for a week now,” Gagnon said. “People have nowhere to go.”
The residents of the tent city that was evicted from the Carey Road location they moved to after being evicted from both Rudd and Regina parks as per a court order, moved to Goldstream Park late yesterday.
Pacifica Housing Advisory Association paid for them to camp legally and U-Haul trucks provided by the Together Against Poverty Society, a Victoria-based legal advocacy organization, helped move their belongings after Saanich police prohibited them from bringing anything more than a backpack each, into Rudd Park.
Gagnon, who arrived just before 6 p.m. Wednesday evening said West Shore RCMP appeared to have let one person into the park, bringing food for campers. Officers were also monitoring anyone coming and going, asking for camping permits.
Having communicated with two residents of Namegans Nation as well as camp leader Chrissy Brett, Gagnon said she was not aware of any “incidents, fires or disturbances” inside the park.
She said the comments campers and supporters have seen and heard are “intensifying the hate” and are “completely contrary to progressive government.”
Just vacated the office of the exceptionally useless Minister of Housing @selinarobinson under threat of arrest. In summary, the most boring hour of our lives. The NDP pretends to be for the working class, but are liberal scum who throw homeless ppl under the boots of the cops. pic.twitter.com/l56R2wcDfJ
— Against Displacement (@stopdisplacemnt) September 19, 2018
Earlier today a group of activists with Alliance Against Displacement, a community advocacy organization, occupied the Coquitlam office of housing minister Selina Robinson demanding a meeting with her on behalf of Namegans Nation.
“The community is really behind us,” Gagnon said. “[These actions are] also intensifying the anger people are feeling toward this provincial government who promised housing.”
Black Press Media reached out to West Shore RCMP and was told no one was available for comment.