Province orders Topaz and Pandora homeless camps dismantled


The homeless encampments at Topaz Park and along Pandora Avenue in Victoria will be dismantled starting immediately, in a process that's expected to take two weeks.

The BC Government issued the order on Saturday under the Emergency Program Act. It also includes efforts in Vancouver and, to a smaller scale, the rest of the province.

In Victoria, BC Housing will start the process of assessing people at Topaz and Pandora and moving them into five hotels where they've secured 324 spaces. We don't know which hotels or motels in Victoria are being used. The province says the rooms were rented with lease agreements.

The hotels will be set-up with 24/7 staff from non-profit housing providers. They'll get medical supports including mental health and addiction support. Prior to moving, each individual will be assessed by outreach workers and Island Health to match them with the site that best meets their social and health needs.

It won't be done right away, with an expectation that 20 or 30 people a day will be assessed and moved into the hotel rooms.

The province says this is, quote,  "a step toward providing permanent housing for people in these encampments."

Beyond Victoria, the province says 686 people in Vancouver will be cleared out of that city's homeless encampments. There are a smaller number of operations scattered around the province. For instance, the SEAPARK recreation centre in Sooke will house 45 people.


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