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

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

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

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read