Don and Deedee, who lived at Regina Park, were at Rudd Park on Friday morning as campers scrambled to find new accommodations after being displaced from Regina Park by Saanich and the Saanich Police. Travis Paterson/News Staff

Campers face ongoing discrimination after being displaced from Saanich

Large group of campers have now moved on to Rudd Park in Saanich, but how long will they stay?

A group of former tent city occupants faced considerable discrimination on Friday during a temporary stay at Rudd Park in Saanich.

Saanich Police enforced last week’s injunction and evicted everyone from Camp Namegans tent city at Regina Park as of Thursday night. As of Friday afternoon those their hadn’t made any decisions as to where they might stay Friday night.

See: Displaced Regina Park campers move to nearby Rudd Park

Drivers who passed by honked and yelled, construction workers from a nearby site spent their smoke breaks gawking and even yelling at them. It was all too demeaning for Don and Deedee, who already suffer from mental health issues and say life on the streets is a grind on their wellbeing.

“We’re compliant, we left Regina because we don’t want to be arrested, we don’t want any trouble,” Deedee said.

While Saanich Police released an update on crime numbers on Friday – citing a spike in reports for that neighbourhood specifically – Deedee said she’s not a criminal and neither are 90-something per cent of the residents at tent city.

“Most of us don’t want to be here, we don’t have friends who have places to give us,” Deedee said. “We have a friend who works and he’s couch surfing until he can find a place.”

Deedee suffers from PTSD, depression, colitis and diabetes and Don lives with bi-polar syndrome. Neither can work and both receive disability assistance.

“It wears on me badly,” Don said. “I take medication at night to help keep my mind slowed down, to keep me on the even keel. We’re trying to get our lives sorted out, get our feet on the ground, get settled.”

The group remains united in their quest for housing and support services said Blair, who lived at Regina Park this summer, now in his second year of experiencing homelessness.

Thursday night Blair and his partner Lynne went made the trek downtown to a shelter but Lynne had a hygiene accident and they were thrown out around 11 p.m., Blair said.

“So we came back here.”

Saanich Police, which fenced off Regina Park and clamped down on anyone entering or exiting, permitted tent city occupants to return between 10 and 2 p.m. on Friday to retrieve any belongings they had left behind.

Among those who are concerned about their presence at Rudd Park is the Gorge Soccer Club. President Brad Hlasny said the club uses the field at Rudd Park weekly for its youth soccer programs.

It’s not the first time people have camped at Rudd or on a Gorge-run field, Hlasny said.

“It’s a hard situation, certainly this group of people need help,” Hlasny said. “We’ve had parents say they won’t be bringing their kids to soccer if the camp is there.”

Overall, the feelings that Don and Deedee, and Blair and Lynne have felt, is disheartening, they said.

“The response we’ve gotten from society since [joining] tent city is horrible,” Don said. “Society is treating us very badly. It’s horrible and stressful. People yell ‘get a job,’ ‘go home.’

“Who are you to talk to me that way? What if it was you on this side of the fence and me on that side, you think I’m going to be a dick about it? No. I’m going to say ‘Hey, so sorry you’re down on your luck.’ I’d be one of those people to honk their horn in support, not saying, ‘get out of here.’”

reporter@saanichnews.com

reporter@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Legendary Reggae guitarist Al Anderson to hit the stage in Sidney

Member of Bob Marley’s band the Wailers will be at Mary Winspear Centre Jan. 30

Local Monarchist says Saanich Peninsula would be a ‘great place’ for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Bruce Hallsor also expects the couple’s professional opportunities to lie outside Greater Victoria

Court rejects mistrial for accused Victoria drug dealer who fired his lawyer

Horst Schirmer filed a mistrial application on basis of receiving incompetent representation

Saanich seeks young residents to serve on 2020 advisory committees

Youth members must be between 16 and 24 years old

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

NBA star was reportedly in his private helicopter at the time of the crash

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

Most Read