Saanich Mayor meets with BC Housing Minister about homeless campers

Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell thinks he accomplished what he set out to do in a meeting with BC's Housing Minister Monday. 

Atwell asked for the meeting months ago to discuss the growing issue of homeless campers living in Cuthbert Holmes Park, a sensitive ecological area. 

Atwell says he tried to convey that it's not just the homeless in Victoria that need to be accomodated when housing is made available:

" What I'm hoping is that, you know, future developments such as purchasing the Tally Ho, the former Tally Ho on Douglas, and moving the people that were living at Choices by the old youth custody into the building that the minstry now has a better idea of how many homeless there are in Saanich.  And that when they purchase another facility to help address this problem the numbers will be reflectgive of the need and the number of units that will have to built or acquired."

Atwell says meantime there's still a lot to do in Cuthbert Holmes Park to engage with the 10 or so homeless living there, and ensure they respect the park, and keep it clean.

There have been complaints from the area community association of campers creating makeshift sidewalks through the wetlands using wooden pallets and rocks, using gasoline-fuelled generators, and creating large trash heaps. The area is home to a fish-bearing stream, otters, seals and a Great Heron rookery.


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