Saanich homeless camp cause of fire concerns

A homeless camp in Regina Park on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway is causing concerns going into the fire season.

The camp is surrounded by long grass, which may dry out during the summer. With people living there, Saanich mayor Richard Atwell said may be a fire hazard.

Previously a camp was emptied at the Victoria court house due to fire concerns, and Atwell said those concerns can be applied to this camp as well.

“The site is about, I would say, half full if you measure tents against the land area,” Atwell said. “Some groups came in the other day, as I saw on the news, and have cleared some of the land and cut some of the grass down.

“It doesn’t matter what you cut, where you put it, or how many tents you pack in there, as the weather gets drier and as we enter the fire season there’s the potential for the same kinds of risks. The fire department is weighing that on a daily basis, but as of yet no decision has been made to de-camp Regina Park.”

Saanich has a bylaw that prohibits all camping in city parks, but Atwell said a 2015 BC Supreme Court ruling saying homeless campers have the right to camp in parks as long as they clear out by morning over rules their bylaw.

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