Beacon Hill Park staff refuse to work due to unsafe conditions

Photo: Change.org Save Beacon Hill Park

Some Victoria Parks staff no longer feel it is safe to work in Beacon Hill Park. 

In statement sent to CFAX 1070, a spokesperson for the City of Victoria says on Tuesday two employees were confronted in the park by "someone who made threatening remarks about harming them and members of the public." 

The city says the two did the right thing by getting to a safe location and dialing 9-1-1. 

Since then, a group of Parks staff have exercised their right to refuse work, and the city is now working with the union on how to move forward. 

"The City is conducting an investigation and until that is complete, staff will be limiting their work in Beacon Hill Park to only garbage pickups and washroom cleaning to mitigate impacts for the public. The Parks yard off Cook Street is still operational and staff there will continue to work," says Bronee. 

"Incidents where staff encounter aggressive public do happen from time to time. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased these occurrences as a higher volume of individuals are sheltering in parks. That's why we have been using a Hazard Risk Assessment that outlines controls intended to keep workers safe, which is reviewed and updated weekly."

In response to the incident, Mayor Lisa Helps reiterated her statement that we need more funding for housing.

"The City continues to advocate for more investment in housing and mental health supports from the provincial and federal government agencies responsible for these urgent community priorities," says Helps. "No matter the circumstances we're in, everyone deserves to feel safe in their workplace. I was disheartened when I learned that Parks staff have recently been the subject of verbal abuse and threats."