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Homeless win right to camp in city parks


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#21 Caramia

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 06:40 PM

Rob I suspect that for the most part this will not cause chaos but rather will encourage homeless camps to spread throughout the CRD, rather than concentrate themselves in Burnside and Downtown where most people are camping now. The ability for these folks to disperse is more likely to decrease conflict among homeless people, and the ability to camp in open, well-lit areas is more likely to decrease victimization. Police resources are currently eaten up moving these people from place to place. Perhaps now they can concentrate on arresting those involved in crime.

My one concern is for needles left in parks near where children play. Particularly with the fall leaves covering everything. I hope every citizen will be diligent about making sure parks near where they live are needle free. If you do find a needle, rather than trying to break off the tip, drop it in a transparent pop bottle before putting it in the garbage if possible to protect our garbage collectors.

Ted - read your private messages. Failure to do so might cause your account to be suspended.
I've also included "a few words" for you.
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#22 Sue Woods

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 07:13 PM

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.


Well said. We need shelters for the homeless and supervised facilities for the mentally ill - and this ruling will do a lot to pressure the Fed govt to act. This has ramifications for every city park in Canada and I don't think Canadians will stand for this for more then a minute or two.

Part of this problem, among others, stems from the gentification of the downtown in most major cities, condos built in what were once poor parts of town with under-code and rooming houses. But there is no discounting that there are people in every society who want to live alternative lifestlyes - who will never choose to fit themselves into the normal stream of life - even if there are a options and agencies who exist to help them. When I moved the Island 20 years ago there was a community of people living (squatting) in make shift cabins/tents etc at Sombrio Beach. It was subsequently closed down for a variety of reasons. They were for all intense and purposes happy to live on the fringes and I often wonder at the wisdom of closing it down. I actully think it should have been allowed to exist - or they could have been given another area of unused land to live as they wished.

ROB: I agree - set up a special area - monitor it - provide washrooms etc and at least put in some controls. But I would far prefer to see all the churches in the CRD open their basements for winter shelter for the homeless. Maybe by spring needed construction will commence. Sue

#23 Caramia

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 07:25 PM

Sombrio and Bear Beach were wonderful communities, and after decades living their, the inhabitants should have been able to claim some kind of squatter's rights. The kids that grew up there turned into amazing people, proof that allowing people to become self sufficient is unequaled medicine for society's ills. One thing about this ruling - had it been in place prior to that eviction, Sombrio would now be a small town, rivaling the population of some of our northern communities (no exaggeration- look at Ocean Falls population can't be more than around 75)

There was a documentary made about the Sombrio evictions.
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.
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#24 Roger

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 07:34 PM

Rob I suspect that for the most part this will not cause chaos but rather will encourage homeless camps to spread throughout the CRD, rather than concentrate themselves in Burnside and Downtown where most people are camping now. The ability for these folks to disperse is more likely to decrease conflict among homeless people, and the ability to camp in open, well-lit areas is more likely to decrease victimization. Police resources are currently eaten up moving these people from place to place. Perhaps now they can concentrate on arresting those involved in crime.

My one concern is for needles left in parks near where children play. Particularly with the fall leaves covering everything. I hope every citizen will be diligent about making sure parks near where they live are needle free. If you do find a needle, rather than trying to break off the tip, drop it in a transparent pop bottle before putting it in the garbage if possible to protect our garbage collectors.


There is no doubt that we have a homeless problem in Victoria and that we need more affordable housing, shelters and detox facilities to deal with this vulnerable segment of our population. The majority would take advantage of these facilities if they were made available but a minority chooses to live on the street like Mr. Johnston. This BC Supreme Court ruling will have a dramatic effect on our city and change the way citizens view their parks.

I believe the camps will not spread out across the CRD and suspect most will choose to camp in the downtown parks because they are close to support services (Salvation Army, Our Place etc.). Beacon Hill park will become very popular especially in the summer. We should expect more "homeless" visitors once the news gets out. Who wants to sleep in a crowded indoor shelter in the summer when you can camp on the beach? Many can't stay in a shelter anyway because they have pet dogs.

There will not be many citizens cleaning up the parks of needles, litter and excrement. The reason is simple: many won't bother to go there any more. I live in James Bay and never set foot in the park on Menzies because of the drinking and drug use that is prevalent in the daytime. You only see a few children in the park and they are under the watchful eye of their parents. Who wants to deal with needles and crack pipes when you have a family?

I visit Beacon Hill park several times a week but when the homeless start pitching tents everywhere I just won't bother to go anymore and I imagine many of my fellow citizens will do the same. People will not feel safe and the natural beauty will be diminished. The suburbs will start looking even more attractive to families.

A sad day for Victoria and its citizens.

#25 yodsaker

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 07:36 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.


Agree, but it would require a degree of imagination and decision by the city not seen yet. Tent cities could be policed by a small number of officers with some supervision and control in a defined area.
Perhaps best of all the residents could develop a sense of responsibility and community now lacking. It can't be worse than people sleeping and pissing in doorways and on sidewalks all over downtown.

#26 Mike K.

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 07:42 PM

Don't police forces of other municipalities have a nasty habit of dropping homeless individuals off in the City of Victoria?

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#27 Caramia

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 07:50 PM

You may be right Roger. However, it is also true that these tents are already "somewhere" ... which is to say that a walk through Cuthbert Holmes and the surrounding gulches will reveal the reality that there are people building shelters in our parks already. I think it is probably true that there will be an increase of people who do use the parks. Hopefully some of those people will be somewhat more capable, watering down the hardest edge. Mostly I think the problem that Burnside has been struggling with for years will be dispersed to other neighbourhoods.

I hope that someone is able to post that 108 page ruling online ASAP. I think we all would like to know what the limitations are on the public camping, and what is still not cool.
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.
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#28 ted - 3 - dots

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 07:55 PM

-------- 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 ....!




-------- Mentioning Apple-Street gang to me

again is pointing to a small-group of "street-people" ,
and saying they are respentivite of all the street-people

please expect me to fight for those who are not ...!


The Mayor's task-Force identified 36% of the homeless had a job to go to in the morning...


My buddy's @ street-link & cool-aid ,
all tell me about the number's of lunch's they pack every day .


Yes, I remember the Apple-Street Gang ,
and I also remember the fire ,,, ? that pushed the survivor's beyond Bay-street...!



---------- I'm interested in the 36% who work ----------

they need a break , they don't need to be treated like they are crack-heads...!



can we at least supply them a tent to sleep in ...?


ted... ( I'm sorry to freak out , I'm seeking solutions that aren't jails & more prison-time )



;{-

#29 Caramia

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 07:58 PM

Ted check your private messages before you post again.
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

#30 Caramia

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 08:04 PM

Don't police forces of other municipalities have a nasty habit of dropping homeless individuals off in the City of Victoria?


The Saanich police used to do that, however when it was discovered, Victoria reacted and I believe the practice was stopped.
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

#31 Roger

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 08:17 PM

You may be right Roger. However, it is also true that these tents are already "somewhere" ... which is to say that a walk through Cuthbert Holmes and the surrounding gulches will reveal the reality that there are people building shelters in our parks already. I think it is probably true that there will be an increase of people who do use the parks. Hopefully some of those people will be somewhat more capable, watering down the hardest edge. Mostly I think the problem that Burnside has been struggling with for years will be dispersed to other neighbourhoods.


Yes there are tent sites in the "remote" parts of Beacon Hill park now. With this ruling they will now be out in the open (maybe on the putting green across from the petting zoo). I imagine the city will be forced to install portable bathrooms before long due to charter rights of the campers.

And the specifics of the ruling won't matter to the campers. You are not allowed to do drugs or drink in the parks now but they do it anyway and the police do little about it. As of today the homeless believe they can camp in any public park at anytime and that is just what they will do. The overloaded police forces will just look the other way unless a citizen makes a complaint.

#32 davek

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 08:28 PM

If people want an agricultural land reserve, an urban containment boundary, restrictive zoning, and other policies that artificially restrict land supply, they must expect unaffordable housing as a consequence.

If people want the state to supply food, shelter, clean needles, and other services to the less fortunate, they must expect to see those unfortunates turn away from their families and friends, who give support conditionally. They must also expect to see friends and families give up on those unfortunates more easily than they would have otherwise, knowing the state will step in. They must expect homelessness.

I am shocked by this ruling, but like all libertarians, I know that state intervention almost always results in unintended, perverse consequences. I hope those calling for relief from the very institution which created this problem will reconsider. It is inhumane to encourage people to rely on a system which has consistently failed to provide for their needs.

#33 ted - 3 - dots

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 08:33 PM

The overloaded police forces will just look the other way unless a citizen makes a complaint.




----------- I hope people are NOT missing the point --------

If there are no shelter bed's ,

why can't you sleep in a public-owned park ...?


( ok , so people are already camping out )

The point again is , covering yourself up,
and protecting yourself from the extreme of the weather ...!


It was illegal in Victoria , to use a tarp , or anything else
that can keep the weather out of your sleeping bag ...!


ie: a shelter or a tent ...!



---- What we need to do is :

either build more shelter's ,
or build a temporary tent-city .


Using the Model provided by Portland & San-Fran ...

-- Police , Fire-codes, and health standard's can all be met

and policing the tent city can be done easily ...!!!!!!!!!!!!
( we just have to support the camper's ) instead of criticizing them ...!


------ ted... -------

if we don't , then expect a repeat of the worst-case scenerio


;{-



( support ) ...?

#34 Roger

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 09:39 PM

Ted,

I don't think people are missing the point at all. We have a homeless problem in Victoria that has not been given the funding, moral support and political will that is necessary. This has resulted in Johnston and his supporters getting a BC Supreme court ruling that will lead to unfortunate events unfolding in the near future.

The specifics of the court ruling will be ignored (i.e. lack of shelter beds) and there will be many believing they have a right to camp in city parks at any time under any circumstances. That is exactly what they will do. In some cases violence, drugs and alcohol abuse will take place. I am also concerned about the dangers associated with open fires and garbage. Citizens will be afraid to use the parks and will resent the campers. Some will pressure the politicians to do something but the polarization will not be pleasant (i.e. them & us attitude). I won't even get into what this will do to tourism.

You may believe that tent cities will be a good interim solution and for some folks this may be acceptable. However there will be elements that will not want to live in a regulated environment and they will just set up camp where and when they feel like it. Just take a look a Johnston's comments today as an example. He is making a choice where he lives.

This court ruling is bad news for everyone, including the homeless.

#35 ted - 3 - dots

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 09:52 PM

Ted,

(clip clip ) please scroll down to see the entire comment


This court ruling is bad news for everyone, including the homeless.




----------- Ya that what I'm saying ----------

If we leave it up to the homeless to orginize it ,
we will wind-up in the same old boat ...!

If we citizen's take controll ( other than red-neck toss them all jail attitudes )
perhaps a better tent-city can take place ...!!!!!


as a stepping stone into real housing ...!


------ I'm saying , 36% of the homeless population have a job,
but no place to sleep ...!

Why can't we do something for them ...?

( oh ya crack-head's ...?????? ) so let's help nobody right ...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ted...

;{-

#36 Newlywednotnearlydead

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 09:52 PM

I'm with Roger. I also live in James Bay and I like to go for jogs/walks along Dallas Road and through Beacon Hill Park. Quite frankly, this time of year I don't go near the park because it's dark early and you can see an unsavory crowd in areas. I used to work downtown on Store St. and have no illusions that the homeless crowd will set up a tent utopia in our local parks.

#37 Roger

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 10:11 PM

----------- Ya that what I'm saying
If we leave it up to the homeless to orginize it ,
we will wind-up in the same old boat ...!

If we citizen's take controll ( other than red-neck toss them all jail attitudes )
perhaps a better tent-city can take place ...!!!!!

as a stepping stone into real housing ...!

------ I'm saying , 36% of the homeless population have a job,
but no place to sleep ...!

Why can't we do something for them ...?

( oh ya crack-head's ...?????? ) so let's help nobody right ...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ted...;{-


Ted,

If you read my posts you will see that I am all in favour of providing shelter and support for the less fortunate in our society. In particular, we really need to support those 36% you mention that have a job and need our help.

BUT - This court ruling is not the way to do it!! It will have some very unfortunate consequences for everyone including the homeless. Even if some concerned citizens got together and organized a tent city as you suggested there will still be an element that will choose not to live there. They will just take over our parks and this ruling will give them the impression that it is their right to do so.

The big losers with this court decision are our children. They lose a safe place to play and appreciate nature.

#38 mat

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 10:23 PM

Does this ruling go beyond parks? Would it not mean any municipal owned, or managed, property - like community/recreation centres or even city hall?

#39 http

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 10:45 PM

In particular, we really need to support those 36% you mention that have a job and need our help.

BUT - This court ruling is not the way to do it!! It will have some very unfortunate consequences for everyone including the homeless.


I agree - this court case was the worst possible thing to have happen, except for the stupid law being passed in the first place. Neither offers any support to those homeless who want to become housed.

As a side note, what is the social benefit of prioritzing support according to employment status?
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#40 Rob Randall

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 10:48 PM

I've just received word that this topic will be on the agenda of Thursday's Committee of the Whole meeting at City Hall.

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