Campers Are No Longer Staying at Regina Park
Camp Namegan, the tent city at Regina Park, may still have some tents standing, but they are unoccupied.
According to the camp spokespeople, Saanich Police arrived at the park in the afternoon of September 13, and told them they had until 5 o'clock to vacate the park. Everything left behind was fenced in and locked up, and campers could return in the morning to pick it up.
The fences were erected on Tuesday, and police have had a heavy presence as they helped campers pack up, and patrol the camp to make sure everyone is safe. Police weren't allowing people back into the park once they had cleared out all of their belongings.
Ashley Mollison, spokesperson for Alliance Against Displacement, and an advocate for the campers, says they weren't letting in other people who wanted to help or offer support: "The people who were set up to offer material and emotional support wasn't let in."
However, Cora Mee, a resident of Saanich whose property borders the park, says police officers told her and other neighbours that only those who had belongings still in the park were being allowed in, but she doesn't know what the campers were told specifically. She also says she's seen some people being turned away from the camp, "There's been a couple supporters who came down and were quite unruly and demanding, and they were asked to leave. But they don't have belongings there, and they weren't there too help, they were there to be disruptive, and I've seen that myself today."
The deadline to vacate the park was Tuesday the 11th, but campers were waiting for storage containers to be delivered so they could store their belongings.
Mollison says now the container is no longer scheduled to be delivered. She says they were told it would arrive by Tuesday, then, when it had not arrived, that it would be there by Thursday. The container still hasn't arrived, and now she says "The latest development was that U-Pack would no longer be providing storage, but that Saanich was going to pick up people's belongings today, and then transport them over to C-Cans. So that never came today so people were forced out without access to storage, and many of them without their tents."
Chrissy Brett, the camps organizer, hosted a press conference along with Mollison and several of the Tent City residents. There Brett says she felt Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell was not acting compassionately towards the homeless. Brett says the land they were occupying was unceded, indigenous land, but Saanich went ahead and removed them from it anyways. She says he is acting very "Trump-ish" by forcing them off the land and fighting "a war on the homeless."
The campers left and went to Rudd Park in Saanich which allows overnight camping from 9 pm to 7 am.
Those with belongings still at Regina Park will be allowed back in to retrieve their things.