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 council to consider 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

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

Jada Benwell and Connor Larkey are the valedictorians of the 2021 graduating class at Parkland Secondary School. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Pandemic taught lessons in perseverance for North Saanich high schoolers

Parkland Secondary School to release 2021 grad ceremony video on June 25

The 14th annual Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (YES) awards June 3. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay celebrates its Young Exceptional Stars with outdoor award ceremony

Nine young people recognized in 14th annual awards

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read