Central Park tent city washed out

Central Park tent city washed out
This is a surprise to no one. We ask again — please help our neighbours who are living in Central Park. This cannot wait any longer. - North Park Neighbourhood Association
Roy Hales - CKTZ - Cortes IslandBC | 27-12-2020

By Roy L Hales

Picture a homeless encampment in a public park. The rains and recent snow have transformed most of the lawn into a massive puddle. The number of tents in Victoria’s Central Park has decreased since last fall, but there were still 45 of them on December 15th. One was sitting on a pallet, which raised the floor above the water, but the neighbouring tents are all in water.

central park tent city

Photo credit: This is someone’s home – North Park Neighbourhood Association

That’s the scene that greets your eyes in Krista Loughton’s video “This is Canada” which was filmed in the park on December 21st.

She published it along with an “open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier John Horgan, and all other federal and provincial elected officials who are responsible for social housing and human rights federally and provincially in Canada.”

In the text it says “I, and whoever else likes or shares this video, demand that we find an indoor solution immediately for people who are literally being flooded out of Central Park in Victoria, B.C.”

central park tent city

Screen capture from the video “This is Canada”

“Helps also acknowledged the extra support that has been extended to those sheltering in the park. ‘In the meantime, we are grateful to everyone who has mobilized to help move people camping to firmer ground that won’t flood. I’d especially like to thank BC Housing for their continued support,’ Said Helps.”

“The Victoria Fire department and BC Housing will be supplying tents, cots and bedding. Discussion have begun with the GSL Group to reuse the Save-on Food Memorial Centre temporary shelter but this option has yet to be confirmed.”

“The media release reiterated that homelessness has been a top priority for the provincial government and the recent storm and pandemic have further highlighted a need to address homelessness within Victoria.”

Central Park tent city

Another screen capture from the video “This is Canada”

“Due to social distancing guidelines because of the pandemic, access to indoor shelters and available beds have been reduced as well as overall support for people experiencing homelessness.”

“The Municipal Government is also investing in services and programs such as the Salvation Army, the Umbrella Society for Addiction and Mental Health, a community care tent, our place society, as well as extending public washroom hours and having bylaw officers conduct daily checks.”

Afterward

A series of photos from the North Park Neighbourhood Association shows the new tent city in a parking lot, with every tent raised above the pavement’s surface  on a pallet.

A better tent city

Huge thank you to the people who spent their day sourcing materials, building platforms, securing tents, and installing tarps. John, Rowena, Tina, Darrin, Trevor, Sean, Ben, Stephanie, Katie, Joel, Janine, Allison, Perry — thank you. – North Park Neighbourhood Association twitter

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