Tent camp on the lawn next to the Victoria courthouse has become packed to capacity

Care home, jail to house Victoria tent campers

Tent campers react angrily to Housing Minister Rich Coleman's offer of 88 spaces at Mount Edward Court, grounds of youth custody centre

The B.C. government has confirmed plans to house up to 88 campers on the Victoria courthouse lawn in temporary “transitional housing and shelter” at a vacant downtown care home and a mostly empty provincial youth custody centre in View Royal.

Housing Minister Rich Coleman announced Friday the province has bought the Mount Edwards Court Care Home at 1002 Vancouver St. for $3.65 million, and will open 38 units to occupants of the tent camp “for approximately 12 months” with units rented for $375 a month.

Another 50 “shelter units” are to be opened at the Victoria Youth Custody Centre, with both to be open by Feb. 23. Occupants there will be provided with three meals a day and have the option of camping in the courtyard, which has space for about 20 tents, for up to six months.

The Mount Edwards proposal has sparked strong neighbourhood opposition, with residents refused information or input even as construction crews began renovating the ground floor. The building is across Rockland Avenue from the Christ Church Cathedral elementary and middle school, which like the surrounding area has been littered with needles, feces and trash since the tent camp sprang up next to the courthouse late last year.

Campers are to be offered on-site health care at Mount Edwards shelter, operated by the Victoria Cool Aid Society, which runs Victoria drop-in and housing services.

Campers reacted angrily to letters handed out by provincial officials Friday morning, saying they weren’t consulted and they plan to stay put. Coleman said people camping illegally on public property don’t have a right to make further demands.

“If people are camping and saying they’re homeless, not a lot of consultation needs to take place,” he said.

Neighbours have spoken out about the proposed long-term plan for Mount Edwards, to house up to 101 people in “low barrier” housing that tolerates alcohol and drug use. Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps has said a permanent facility would require rezoning to go ahead.

Coleman denied that a permanent Mount Edwards facility is a done deal, and promised that consultation and a rezoning would be done before any long-term use of the building is determined. The shelter and medical use “probably fits within the existing zoning,” he said.

Asked if drug and alcohol use will be condoned at the Mount Edwards site, Coleman said once people are residents of the units, they will not be subject to interference into what they do in their own homes.

 

Just Posted

Island Health, service providers meeting to talk about used needles in Victoria

Recent public needle-prick incidents prompt call to reduce number of needles found

Traffic logistics for Lansdowne Road closure

Public Works talks alternative routes for 2.5 month closure of major transportation artery

Boat capsizes in Caddy Bay

Two members of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club Race Team spent part… Continue reading

Oak Bay showcases non-profits and more with inaugural volunteer fair

The Oak Bay Volunteer fair runs Jan. 20 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Monterey Recreation Centre

Dozens rally outside Premier’s office for sick Sooke boy

Six-year-old Landen Lanthier needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Oak Bay showcases non-profits and more with inaugural volunteer fair

The Oak Bay Volunteer fair runs Jan. 20 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Monterey Recreation Centre

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

Wanted by Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers for the week of Jan. 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Most Read