UPDATE: Regina Park Tent City grows since receiving Notice to Vacate
The organizer of a tent city at Saanich's Regina Park says there are now close to 70 campers in the protest camp despite a Notice to Vacate received on Friday from the District.
The encampment is along Highway 1 across from Uptown, and is part of a roaming homeless protest that's moved around Greater Victoria since last fall.
As of last week about 50 homeless had spent more than a month living in 40 tents on the site, with organizer Chrissy Brett calling for more affordable and supportive housing. Brett now estimates the numbers of campers at 69.
The District has provided a porta-potty and garbage cans, and is trying to connect homeless campers with housing advocates.
But officials have become increasingly concerned about fire safety, and increased complaints from the nearby neighbourhood regarding suspicious activity and crime.
Saanich police confirm calls for service in the Vernon, Saanich/Boleskine/Hampton, Wascana, Cadillac, and Ravine area up almost 13% with the biggest jump being theft from vehicles. There was 1 all last year, and 5 so far this year. There's also a big increase in public assistance calls, with 13 total last year, and 39 so far this year.
The notice to vacate told campers "continuous occupation of Regina Park is unlawful" and that only temporary overnight shelters are permitted between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. when necessary, with shelters and personal belongings removed. The fire department also ordered residents to comply with fire regulations.
The District says they will not comment an any additional steps that may be taken calling it an evolving legal matter.