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

CVRD to increase enforcement after audits reveal that curb-side recycling contamination in the district is well above acceptable limits. (File photo)
CVRD reports contamination in recyclables well above acceptable levels

Increased enforcement planned starting this summer

Municipality of North Cowichan.
Council acknowledges National Indigenous Peoples Day

Recommendations received for prioritization of the updated Climate Action and Energy Plan

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

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

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Flag exhibit is now set up in the Chemainus Valley Museum. (Photo by Val Galvin)
Fibre artists put their unique twists on climate change exhibit

Red Flag warning label affixed to collection now on display at the Chemainus Valley Museum

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

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

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?

Most Read