LETTER: Time to clean up Saanich camp

I am very pleased to hear that our B.C. government is providing good homes for the homeless, and hope that will apply soon in Saanich.

In sight from my home are tents and cabins among the trees at the southwest corner of McKenzie and Douglas streets. The camp is near a stop for buses 70, 71, 72 and 75. A few steps away is bus 51, which goes to UVic and Camosun College. Consider how those students will enrich your future as doctors, nurses, executives, scientists, teachers and more.

Odds might be low that any bus rider cares much about the encampment. Odds were also low that a Nova Scotia man would dress up as a Mountie and kill 22 people before being shot to death himself. Yet the latter happened.

The camp is on land posted with two metal “No Trespassing” signs placed by the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. A small garbage dump is in the bushes near the camp. Perhaps sanitation officials could advise what a dump means for disease, and for rat infestation.

Residents here say that a few campers might patrol our area and steal things. This could be similar to Topaz Park. Victoria Police reported a 126 per cent rise in small crime once tenters were moved in from Pandora Street.

When I saw this camp last fall, I thought, ‘Let them get through the winter, something might come along.’ Now it has come along.

When these campers get homes, they could also be acknowledged as ‘guardians’ to watch over the site. This shows we recognize their needs, and provides them with a place of honour. The small ornamental garden, which need not be destroyed, could perhaps feature a plaque and serve as a living memorial to the original campers. The vacant site could be designated as a wildlife refuge or habitat preserve, and have signs that welcome daily visitors but also firmly advise “No Camping.” Such “No Camping” signs already exist in Victoria.

The homeless need not be ‘cast aside’ to camps. It’s true in Saanich, too.

Richard Kubik

Saanich

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

Just Posted

Colwood eyes upgrades to recreation area near Lookout Lake Dam

Upgrades to dam estimated to be complete before end of year

Crime stats show a shift in Oak Bay during COVID-19

Thefts from automobiles, marinas up this spring

Eight people arrested on Pandora Avenue after enforcement order issued

Those living in homeless camps were given until May 20 to move indoors

When crisis hits: How West Shore RCMP has dealt with the pandemic

More front-line officers on road in mobile offices

Victoria society purchases addiction recovery home after year of fundraising

Umbrella Society’s Foundation House is a second stage house for men in active recovery

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

Most Read