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Homeless win right to camp in city parks


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#1 martini

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 12:23 PM

City of Victoria loses court challenge

Jim Gibson
Times Colonist

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The city's homeless can camp in Victoria parks, according to a B.C. Supreme Court decision handed down this morning.

"Yesterday it was illegal to set up my tent, today it isn't," said David Johnston, one of the homeless activists who argued they have a right to sleep outdoors on public property.

Lawyer Catherine Boies Parker, who with Irene Faulkner acted on behalf of the homeless campers in their court challenge of the city's anti-camping bylaw, confirmed the 108-page judgment upheld their argument that a City of Victoria bylaw that prohibits using "temporary abodes" like tents and large tarpaulins for shelter in parks and public spaces, violates the rights of the homeless.

She said the judgment noted that in the absence of sufficient safe and secure beds for the homeless, it was unconstitutional for the city to prevent them from erecting some form of overhead shelter to protect themselves from the elements.

The decision came three years to day that a number of people were arrested in October 2005 for setting up a "tent city" in Cridge Park -- a small greenspace at the corner of Blanshard and Belleville streets. The eviction sparked the court challenge.

Following a sparsely attended noon rally at the courthouse, Johnston said he intends to set up a tent in a part of Beacon Hill Park known as the Mayors Grove. He said he didn't want to return to the Cridge park, which he describes as "such an ugly little square of land."

Mayor Alan Lowe said he will respond to the court decision at a press conference at 3 p.m.

Johnston predicts that tent cities will spring up in other municipalities once the decision becomes widely known.


http://www.canada.co...34-44c794a97a88

#2 LJ

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 01:49 PM

So I guess that they aren't "homeless" anymore.

Good - one more problem solved.
Life's a journey......so roll down the window and enjoy the breeze.

#3 D.L.

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 02:03 PM

Absolute BS. There's plenty of crown land these people can camp on.

#4 Newlywednotnearlydead

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 02:14 PM

So, I have to spend 15-20 bucks a night to camp at a provincial park, but these jokers get to set up a tent in city parks? What a crock. Maybe tourists will start setting up a tent in the park to save on hotel costs.

#5 Zimquats

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 02:32 PM

Oh boy...that Beacon Hill Park group that tried to stop the Terry Fox thing are gonna have their hands full now.

#6 mat

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 02:34 PM

Alan Lowe is going - Thank God it's not me that has to deal with the fallout. Maybe this will push all levels of Gov. to actually do something, and build social housing, along with more detox beds and community services.

#7 Caramia

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 02:36 PM

Well that should light a fire under the butts of anyone dragging their heels about putting shelters and affordable housing units in their neighbourhood. I sincerely hope that James Bay, Fairfield and other park-rich "take it to Burnside" neighbourhood associations will suddenly decide that these issues are important enough to make room for in their areas too. And I hope that homeless people who plan to set up a camp for the winter remember that there are 12 other municipalities in Victoria who have successfully managed to keep services for street people out of their areas. Oak Bay and Saanich have some nice parks... and it was Saanich that refused the BC government's offer to build a shelter if they provided some land - which is why the shelter in Burnside is so damn big.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#8 Mike K.

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 02:42 PM

Trust municipalities to adapt with strategic sprinkler systems.

And I'm not being facetious.

Know it all.
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#9 groundlevel

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 02:49 PM

Could someone explain to me why municipalities are the level of government otherwise sensible people believe should provide the answers to the homeless street population?

Not saying they shouldn't be absolutely involved in finding solutions -- but the province is the ultimate body responsible, isn't it?

I'm truly baffled and awaiting enlightenment.

#10 aastra

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 03:20 PM

He said he didn't want to return to the Cridge park, which he describes as "such an ugly little square of land."

Ouch. So it's not even good enough for street people to camp in it? That little park needs a makeover in a big way.

I'd be curious to know the particulars of this ruling. So it's okay for me to go set up a tent in Beacon Hill Park now? Is there a limit on the size or number of tents that I'm allowed to set up? Do we have a definition of a campsite? What are the rules? Am I allowed to camp right beside another camper? How will disputes be handled if two or more campers make claim to the same spot? Am I allowed to have a barbecue and a temporary fence around my campsite? How long am I allowed to camp in the same spot?

Am I allowed to set up a tent anywhere in the park or just in the woods? Doesn't this ruling have the potential to impinge on public access to the parks?

I'm sure they covered all of this in precise detail in their 108-page ruling. It would be interesting to know the details.

#11 mat

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 03:32 PM

Could someone explain to me why municipalities are the level of government otherwise sensible people believe should provide the answers to the homeless street population?

Not saying they shouldn't be absolutely involved in finding solutions -- but the province is the ultimate body responsible, isn't it?

I'm truly baffled and awaiting enlightenment.


Municipalities are responsible for zoning and development, and to lobby upper levels of Government in recognition of a problem like homelessness. The Province cannot simply apply the funding and say a shelter or certain type of housing will be built 'here - on this street'. It does take all levels of Government, including Federal through CMHC to come to a solution.

#12 martini

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 03:45 PM

I'm truly baffled and awaiting enlightenment.


*sigh* me too. :(

#13 ted - 3 - dots

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 04:25 PM

*sigh* me too. :(




It's called Human Rights ...!

( if your NOT familiar that concept )

Try the Canadian Charter of Rights ...!


--- As an experiment ---

try being homeless for a day ...!

Even better , lining up at one of the shelter's tonight
( it's cold enough )

and see what happens when you don't get one of 178 beds available ...!


Then come back here and spout off ....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1


;{-


.
.
.

ted ... ( perhaps Sue can enlighten you a little )

where do you go , when you got no place to go ...?????



grrrrrrrr

#14 Caramia

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 04:28 PM

I love how you assume no one posting here has ever lived on the streets Ted. You know what they say about assumptions...
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#15 martini

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 04:30 PM

It's called Human Rights ...!

( if your NOT familiar that concept )

Try the Canadian Charter of Rights ...!


--- As an experiment ---

try being homeless for a day ...!

Even better , lining up at one of the shelter's tonight
( it's cold enough )

and see what happens when you don't get one of 178 beds available ...!


Then come back here and spout off ....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1


;{-


.
.
.

ted ... ( perhaps Sue can enlighten you a little )

where do you go , when you got no place to go ...?????



grrrrrrrr


Excuse me?!
This isn't the first time you've been rude to me, and I was not spouting off!
Lighten up

#16 rjag

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 04:40 PM

It's called Human Rights ...!
( if your NOT familiar that concept )
Try the Canadian Charter of Rights ...!
--- As an experiment ---
try being homeless for a day ...!
Even better , lining up at one of the shelter's tonight
( it's cold enough )
and see what happens when you don't get one of 178 beds available ...!
Then come back here and spout off ....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
ted ... ( perhaps Sue can enlighten you a little )
where do you go , when you got no place to go ...?????
grrrrrrrr


I'm sorry I dont buy that for 1 minute. I pay taxes to many levels of Government and I expect a portion of these taxes to go to providing shelter for those less fortunate.

However, by setting this precedent they have opened Pandoras Box to all sorts of issues regarding the failure of the Feds and Province to assist the Cities to manage this problem.

This should not be about our Charter, I hold it in high esteem and respect and believe it can be abused in situations such as this and was not the intent when it was created. People have a right to shelter, and basic shelter should be provided if they are incapable of doing it on their own. They do not have a right to choose to set up a tent in the middle of a public park. They have the right to protest and to communicate their issue and in this case they succeeded 3 years ago at Cridge. The Court was wrong in this decision, the Court should have indicated that it is their basic human right to shelter, not their basic human right to camp in public parks.

This will be appealed and it will be overturned and in doing so, I hope the Court order the senior levels of Government provide the resources required to provide......shelter.

Yet again, another example of abuse of our system.

Why do I even bother to pay tax?

#17 mat

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 04:44 PM

I love how you assume no one posting here has ever lived on the streets Ted. You know what they say about assumptions...


very well said Caramia -

#18 ted - 3 - dots

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 04:47 PM

I love how you assume no one posting here has ever lived on the streets Ted. You know what they say about assumptions...



------ Ya if I could , very quickly , explain -----

See the picture I use ...?

It's from 1935 when people were able to sleep in a park ...

Note that there is a roof over their head ...!


----- The Victoria bylaw says YOU CAN-NOT ,
cover up ...! (ie: shelter yourself)

Unless sleeping bag is waterproof,
covering yourself to PROTECT YOU FROM THE RAIN ,
was illegal here in Victoria .



------ And no ,
I don't believe you were homeless , just because of what you wrote ,
and the way you wrote it ...!


( ya that's me , talking to Lot's of the homeless people every month )


and writing about too ...!


I just don't see it in your words.

Actually I hear something else
(too bad )


------- ted...

please make me a believer ...

type a few words ,
let's see where that leads us .


;{-

#19 ted - 3 - dots

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 05:10 PM

Any ways ,

people are getting heated up over nothing here .


Just read the ruling , parts will be printed in news-paper's .
( I was there I saw the report's & talked to them too )


-------- The important part to remember is this --------

That if there is NO SHELTER-BED ,
then you should be able to access a public park to sleep ....!


And , if it's rain's or snow's ....????????????

You should be able to build a temporary shelter ...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

------- Temporary --------

like a tent @ night

when NOBODY IS USING THE PARK
( except for sleeping because they can find a shelter bed )
ie: @ night time ...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


--------- Some body mentioned Tax's ----- and they pay so very much


Well guess what ...? Your being ripped off

Sally-Ann gets paid more than $ 35.oo / head per night from your Tax
dollar ...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did you know that ...?


the "street-term" is Poverty-Pimp .

Sally-Ann also gets more money ( from several other sources ) as well


YOUR GETTING RIPPED OFF for your Tax dollars.


( doesn't Al's place get $550.oo / resident ) that's a $175.oo more than welfare pays


----------- Ok ,,,,,

------- sorry if I ,, didn't think , you know what you are talking about
( in fact I think your trying to flame war with me ) so please stop it




-- Can't we just talk about homelessness ,
and this historic court case ....?



( isn't a tent , more humain than just a sleeping bag ...? )

#20 Rob Randall

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 06:35 PM

Funny, today I was in a meeting of the DVBA Clean & Safe committee talking about social issues when A-News' Stephen Andrew came into the room with the shocking news.

It may be in the City's best interests to set up a tent city that is serviced and supervised in order to control the situation and prevent rogue tent cities from being set up causing social and policing problems. Police resources are stretched to the limit right now and we simply can't allow things to get out of control. I'm concerned for the security of all residents, including the homeless who are sometimes victimized in tent cities.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


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