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Homeless win right to camp in city parks


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#41 Caramia

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 10:51 PM

Has anyone been to Dignity Village in Portland recently? I'd be interested to hear accounts of the atmosphere there.
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#42 mat

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 10:54 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.


Rob - will the City Solicitor have a report to council? As I understand this involves bylaws and contracts, ie outside contract bylaw officers in animal control have park enforcement duty; park staff themselves and of course the police. This is going to get interesting when an animal control officer tries to impound an unlicensed/unleashed/tied up dog in the parks, owned by a camper. There is an implied danger here to city staff - if you can, bring that up as a priority issue.

#43 Sue Woods

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 11:09 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?


Hi Mat, My read is that shelters/tents can be erected anywhere in public space. I think parkland is the focus because thats what the specific challange was about.

The more I think about this tonight the more shocked I feel. I imagine the park of choice will be Beacon Hill. Also the grass boulevards along Pandora from Cook to Quadra. Inner Harbour Bodega Park across from the Coho Terminal. Maybe Centennial Square. (*Cridge Park no longer meeting David Johnstons standards as quoted this evening on the news.)

This is such a dangerous scenario for an already extended police force - and highly frustrated residents. I just hope the city gets an injuction as soon as they file an appeal (9 am tomorrow morning would be good). Before the word goes out and we become a destination for campers from colder parts of Canada this winter. Not to mention those in Vancouver being displaced by Olympic preparations.

Sue

#44 mat

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 11:26 PM

Hi Mat, My read is that shelters/tents can be erected anywhere in public space. I think parkland is the focus because thats what the specific challange was about.

The more I think about this tonight the more shocked I feel. I imagine the park of choice will be Beacon Hill. Also the grass boulevards along Pandora from Cook to Quadra. Inner Harbour Bodega Park across from the Coho Terminal. Maybe Centennial Square. (*Cridge Park no longer meeting David Johnstons standards as quoted this evening on the news.)

This is such a dangerous scenario for an already extended police force - and highly frustrated residents. I just hope the city gets an injuction as soon as they file an appeal (9 am tomorrow morning would be good). Before the word goes out and we become a destination for campers from colder parts of Canada this winter. Not to mention those in Vancouver being displaced by Olympic preparations.

Sue


It is hard to not get worked up over this, especially on a national election night when everyones political sensitivities are in 'alarm' mode. Good to see so many well written and considered posts so far.

Have a hard look at who actually patrols, and enforces bylaws in City of Victoria and Oak Bay parks. It is not the police.

What I would do is send a complete copy of this thread to anyone of influence, at all levels of Government and tell them, this is our community, this a problem - solve it with us, and fast.

We are in an era of economic uncertainty; certainly tourism and convention spend in Victoria is largely down - the last thing we need is pics of tent villages in CRD landmark parks showing up on CNN IReport.

#45 martini

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 11:30 PM

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

I'm hearing this exact concern echoed since the announcement. For many reasons.
We're going to have an uncontrollable biohazard situation on our hands. (Pardon the pun)

#46 Zimquats

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 11:47 PM

Whoa...do you guys not sleep? It's like 12:30 in the morning.

Every time you post my computer comes out of sleep mode and lights up. Seriously guys, the walls of my tent aren't that thick, and you're waking up all my neighbors. Not to mention, the eerie white glow looks spooky as hell reflecting off the trees. And, I'm trying to save power so I can still run my MSN-Starbucks USB coffee maker in the morning (I was able to afford it now since I'm saving all this rent).

Your cooperation is appreciated and expected (or I'll take you to court and you KNOW I'll win).

Regards,
Homeless Zimquats, proud owner of 600sf in Beacon Hill Park (next to the Ducks..I love waterfront)

#47 Sue Woods

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 11:56 PM

Thanks for the comic relief at the end of a stressful day :-)


(And its far too early to be asleep. 3 am is at least two hours away!)
Sue

#48 ted - 3 - dots

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 01:15 AM

Ted,

(clip & snip ,,,, sorry )

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.




---- How do you figure when the proposition is tempory shelter's ...?

ie: the park's close @ 11-pm , and re-open 9-am

most homeless people have packed-up & moved on ...?

so what are you saying ...?


ted...

#49 ted - 3 - dots

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 01:37 AM

Whoa...do you guys not sleep? It's like 12:30 in the morning.

Every time you post my computer comes out of sleep mode and lights up. Seriously guys, the walls of my tent aren't that thick, and you're waking up all my neighbors. Not to mention, the eerie white glow looks spooky as hell reflecting off the trees. And, I'm trying to save power so I can still run my MSN-Starbucks USB coffee maker in the morning (I was able to afford it now since I'm saving all this rent).

Your cooperation is appreciated and expected (or I'll take you to court and you KNOW I'll win).

Regards,
Homeless Zimquats, proud owner of 600sf in Beacon Hill Park (next to the Ducks..I love waterfront)




------- so exactly how ignorant is your comment ----------


you don't live on the street because you have no other place to live ...!
do you ...?

Your NOT living in a tent are you ...!

And so the light from your computer IS NOT keeping people awake is it ...!!!!!!!!!!!!

So why are you saying , what you are saying , on this web-site ...?


------ do you enjoy lying to people on this website ...?


or is there some kind of point your trying to make...?


( your ignorance of the actual court-case , is imbarassing )

You are NOT in Beacon-Hill Park tonight ,,, ARE YOU .....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


----- so how about you Knock it off tonight buddy ok ... --------



I see no glow from my mom's apartment ...!

( and you thought no body was watching )


sorry


( to my right is the Beacon-hill drive-inn , and to my left is the new tent city )


funny I don't see you there ...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(thank mom )


ted... grrrrrrrrr

#50 martini

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 01:45 AM

dddduuuuuuuuuuuuuuude
Chillax

#51 ted - 3 - dots

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 02:19 AM

dddduuuuuuuuuuuuuuude
Chillax


---------- no problem - lemo --------

just stop being ignorant ...!

seriously , these are people that we're talking about ...!

( and despite one's own dreams )
there is an actual reality to this ...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and if you don't have to face up to it yet ,
eventually you will have to do it,,,

so, will there be somebody like me to defend you ...?

( screw that ,
you'll need somebody like David's lawyer ,
and the Judge who made this case happen ) buddy


--------- so please ,

educate yourself on this case ...!

It's gone beyond the common red-neck oppinion


Maybe you can seek advice from the City-Of-Victoria's lawyer,
or the Provincial-Gov's lawyer ... ! (both are expected to appeal )

---- this is NOT an arguement between me & you ,

it's gone to the more "learned individuals"
people who are in court...!


( so , don't blame me my laddy )


lawyer's & judge's are the one who make this stuff up ,
not me ...!!!!!!


ted...

#52 Zimquats

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 07:12 AM

Well, now thanks to Ted I have no coffee.

Grrrr...Zim

#53 Sue Woods

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 07:46 AM

just stop being ignorant ...!
seriously , these are people that we're talking about ...!( and despite one's own dreams )there is an actual reality to this ...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and if you don't have to face up to it yet , eventually you will have to do it,,,


Ted, I don't think anyone is making ignorant comments. It is an emotional issue beyond any other - and I think it speaks to people's humanity and sense of fairness that many are distressed by this decision. For the safety of parks for children and families, for the use of our greenspace as a place for reflection and pause from busy lives, to the visual dignity of our community, for the lack of action by the gov bodies responsible for implementing social programs.

No one is denying there is a problem - no one has expressed hatred or suggested persecuting the homeless - but this is not a solution no matter how many ways you slice it. Sue

#54 rjag

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 08:30 AM

Lets consider how many people are 'homeless' in Victoria.

Out of that number how many are addicts, how many have mental health problems, how many are suffering from financial problems or are victims of abuse?

And then add the other group, the ones that are antagonists that choose this way as a lifestyle.

Divide the wheat from the chaff and focus on the ones that need the help and the ones that want to be serious about wanting to change.

The divisive way this has been dealt with is the reason the City is now in this quandary. The City and VIHA can only do so much, but without the assistance or recognition from the Province or Feds, its just going to get worse.

Time to start calling our MLA and MP and keep calling until they get the message.

#55 Roger

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 08:35 AM

---- How do you figure when the proposition is tempory shelter's ...?

ie: the park's close @ 11-pm , and re-open 9-am

most homeless people have packed-up & moved on ...?

so what are you saying ...? ted...


Ted,

There have been homeless camping in the parks illegally for some time and they have never respected the parks hours of operation. These camps were not temporary and have been removed at great expense by city workers.

Now that the BC Supreme court has issued this ruling are you seriously saying that all campers will respect the hours of operation, keep things tidy and obey all laws concerning drugs, alcohol, pets, violence etc.???

#56 Mike K.

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 08:38 AM

An article in this morning's Globe and Mail quotes Victoria's police rep as saying that the department is preparing for an increase in crime, prostitution and other illegal activities as these tent cities begin to take shape.

Bruce Carter of the Chamber of Commerce was quoted as saying that people will begin to feel more vulnerable in public spaces where camps are established.

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#57 Roger

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 08:54 AM

Here is a link to the Times-Colonist article:

Homeless win right to sleep in parks

"We don't have to search every morning and night for a place to sleep," Johnston said at a noon victory rally behind the courthouse which attracted about a dozen people.

I guess he won't be setting up a temporary camp.

Following the rally, Johnston prepared to set up his tent in Beacon Hill Park's Mayors Grove area, inviting others to join him there. Earlier he said he didn't want to return to Cridge Park, which he described as "an ugly little square of land."

Here is a glimpse of the future for Victoria's parks (Vancouver Oppenheimer Park)




#58 Jacques Cadé

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 08:56 AM

About 10 years ago, Victoria held a conference of downtown associations. One of the most provocative presentations I heard was by a guy from the City of Las Vegas, talking about how to deal with large numbers of street people hanging out on the old downtown "strip".

The Vegas solution? They turned the strip into a private corporation. The street, in effect, became an outdoor shopping mall. The beauty of this, he said, is that the constitution doesn't apply to private land. Hire security guards and you can boot everyone out. And if they threaten to take you to court, fight them all the way. If a law is struck down, keep rewriting it and let them try to sue you again and again. The voters will back you.

The Canadians in the audience gasped in horror at how blunt and mercenary he was, but many of the Americans nodded and took notes.

What happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas. If Beacon Hill Park turns into a giant campground, though, don't be surprised if these arguments start gaining traction. Unfortunately, it's always cheaper to rewrite laws than it is to build apartments.

#59 victorian fan

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 09:10 AM

Bruce Carter of the Chamber of Commerce was quoted as saying that people will begin to feel more vulnerable in public spaces where camps are established.


He's correct. Although I only go to town now if it's absolutely necessary and I've felt this way for the last few years.
Many women my age and older feel the same way. It saddens me.

#60 Sue Woods

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 09:28 AM

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.


This is a really good point - although I am of the belief that Victoria is not the community of origin (family base) for a large percentage of our homeless population. When asked, they all say Victoria is their home community but the Conair program is often dispelling this notion. Also many come from unloving homes so are victims of eventual abandoment.

After the Great Depression the government started taking over all the social services that had previously been under the umbrella of the local church. If a family fell into poverty due to unemployment, or was displaced by a home fire, or one became incapable due to mental illness or alcholism, it was understood that the church was standing by with help. Food, money and people took in families. Many men left their communities to find work with the plan to return when they could provide shelter and dignity for their loved ones.

The church did not open at 9am and close at 6pm. And in those days there were no locks on the doors. It was a sanctuary for everyone anytime, including the sick and the poor.

I do not want to fan any flames here but I do have an image that I feel is important to share. In the final days of the construction of "Our Place" I watched four able bodied homeless youth sitting on a bench, joking around, passing idle time, watching construction workers their own age sweating and rushing around to put the finishing touches on the building that was to be "their place". In the old days, if a community was building a church or house or barn for a needy individual or group I would imagine the benefitting parties would have been expected to have played an active role - if only to pick up nails or remove garbage etc.

I think Davek makes a solid point, too often missing from the dialoge, not politically correct I suppose, which speaks to the role of the community as much to the importance of personal responsibility.

Homelessness is not a rigid unmoveable state. Life changes, opportunities come and go, agencies spring up to meet perceived needs, and I know from personal experience that life improves with facing struggles face on - not diverting blame and responsibilty onto other people.

Its time for higher expectations, not of victoria residents, but the population that takes the community to court to prove that we owe them even more.

Its a two way street. Too often missing from the dialogue.

(IE: We have invasive weeds taking over Beacon Hill Park. Can we expect the campers to pull out ivy and holly along with local residents who regularly give up their sat mornings as volunteers. Also beach clean-ups which people do to raise money for social street agencies. And bottle and food drives. Where are the benefactors of these funds/services. Seems fair to expect them to show up - what else to do all day.)

Sue

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