Regina Park, here seen during the height of last year’s homeless encampment, and nearby Rudd Park, remain on a list of 81 public parks, where Saanich permits temporary overnight sheltering. (Black Press File).

Saanich’s Regina Park, Rudd Park to remain open for temporary overnight sheltering

Staff recommends council reduce the list of eligible parks by 25 to 81

Two Saanich public parks used by residents of a roaming homeless camp last year remain on the list of public parks that permit temporary overnight sheltering, even as Saanich plans to shorten that list.

Both Regina Park – the main site of last year’s homeless encampment that lasted for several months – as well as nearby Rudd Park – remain on the list of 81 public parks where temporary overnight sheltering remains permissible.

Pending council approval Monday, 25 public parks will be off limits to individuals seeking temporary overnight shelter.

The pending revisions respond to concerns from the public after Saanich had amended its parks management and control bylaw to include a definition of temporary overnight sheltering while limiting temporary overnight sheltering to then 102 out of 172 public parks. See here for a list of parks said to be removed from initial list.

RELATED: Tent city in Saanich’s Regina Park shuts down

RELATED: Regina Park campers move to nearby park, plan next move

RELATED: A year in tent city: Timeline of Camp Namegans

“At the time of that amendment, [council] and staff heard from various community members regarding their desire to consider refinements to the list of parks allowable for temporary overnight sheltering,” said Sharon Hvozdanski, Saanich’s director of planning in a memo prepared by Eva Riccius, senior parks manager.

The memo says staff considered a number of criteria in their analysis including whether parks appeared landlocked, setbacks from park structures such as playgrounds and sports fields, and environmental concerns.

“Staff were judicious in analyzing the parks that are allowable for temporary overnight sheltering and worked carefully to asses each park to consider both recent Supreme Court of BC direction based on case law and the input heard from community members,” it reads.

This argument will likely not satisfy some residents, who live near Regina Park, as well as Rudd Park.

RELATED: Residents demand Saanich limit parks where homeless can shelter

RELATED: Campers face ongoing discrimination after being displaced from Saanich

Regina Park was the site of a homeless camp in 2018 that lasted for months from early spring until early fall, housing more than 100 people at its peak before authorities dissolved it following a favourable court ruling.

Several residents living around Regina Park complained to various degrees about the camp during the course of its existence, and a handful of residents living in Rudd Park openly lobbied for changes after some homeless individuals had temporarily moved to Rudd Park following their expulsion from Regina Park.

Specifically, they called for a ban on temporary overnight sheltering in parks with playgrounds or sports fields.

“During that short stay [of homeless individuals in Rudd Park], many of parents in that area didn’t allow their kids to play in that park for several days, including myself, the reason being safety,” said Lyndsay Edgar, a resident of Whittier Avenue, last year.

Pending final approval by council Monday, those efforts will appear to have been in vain.

Regardless of the outcome though, homeless individuals will not be able to set up shelter during the day in any of Saanich’s public parks.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Mainly cloudy skies ahead for Friday

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

Expect delays as Highway 1 widening in Langford begins this month

Year-long project to widen, add meridians between West Shore Parkway and Leigh Road

Ivy pull, beach clean-up targeted for McNeill Bay

Volunteers aim for big Saturday to restore McNeill Bay

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

Island contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Most Read