A motion heading to Victoria council’s committee-of-the-whole this Thursday (June 3) aims to prohibit sheltering in Beacon Hill Park for two years. (Black Press Media file photo)

A motion heading to Victoria council’s committee-of-the-whole this Thursday (June 3) aims to prohibit sheltering in Beacon Hill Park for two years. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria considering two-year camping ban in Beacon Hill Park

Motion on June 3 agenda calls for park rehabilitation period in wake of intensive camping

A two-year ban on overnight camping in Beacon Hill Park is up for discussion at Victoria council’s committee-of-the-whole meeting Thursday.

Brought forward by Mayor Lisa Helps and Couns. Marianne Alto and Charlayne Thornton-Joe, the motion says the park needs two years shelter-free to recover from the effects of a year of intensive camping.

It adds that Beacon Hill Park was never designed for camping and its lawns, vegetation and biodiversity have sustained some damage. To be restored it needs some work from city staff, but mostly just needs time.

The proponents also hope a two-year ban would help reset a perception among travellers and tourists that the park is intended for camping. In past years, Beacon Hill Park has been advertised on Trip Advisor and other travel sites as a good place to pitch a tent.

READ ALSO: Gaps in the system: Youth cope with homelessness in Greater Victoria

When the pandemic hit, it was one of many parks opened to people experiencing homelessness. Realizing that shelter space was limited and more people were becoming unhoused, the city amended its bylaw to temporarily allow 24/7 camping.

In November, it committed to having everyone camping in parks sheltered by March 31. That deadline was extended to April 30 and by May 15 the city said it had temporarily housed 226 people. Over the last year, close to 600 people have been moved inside.

READ ALSO: North Park Tiny Home Village opens at Royal Athletic Park lot to 30 unhoused

All-day camping is now banned in city parks, with 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. sheltering allowed in some and a degree of leeway granted to those who need time to move their belongings. There are roughly eight tents remaining in Beacon Hill Park.

The camping ban motion asks city staff to report back to council in May 2023 with an update on the remediation process and whether a longer ban is required. During that time, Helps said, the city and community partners will work on reaching functional zero – a concept where there are enough services, housing and shelter beds for everyone who needs one at any given time.

If the motion passes at committee and later at council, Beacon Hill Park will join a list of 23 other parks where sheltering is currently banned.

READ ALSO: Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

HomelessnessHousing and HomelessnessVictoria

Just Posted

A conceptual rendering of the commercial plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road. (Town of Ladysmith/June 15 Council Agenda)
Rocky Creek commercial plaza passes public hearing

The proposed plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road would bring commercial activity to Ladysmith’s north end

Kate Cram and her team at Old Town Ice Cream are thrilled to be open for business. (Cole Schisler photo)
Old Town Ice Cream opens up right on time for summer

Located at 539 1st Avenue, Old Time Ice Cream is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Volunteers Alex Cook, Ron Dashwood, and Bill Drysdale have been hard at work restoring the old Ladysmith train station. (Cole Schisler photo)
Train station restoration on track for future community open house

Community is asked to give feedback on what they think the best use is for the station

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read