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.
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.”
“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.”
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.