Share Your Feedback on Temporary Tenting Area Pilot Project

The City of Victoria is considering designating a sheltering area, for persons who are homeless, in a City park. To improve the situation for people currently sleeping in parks, as well as other park users and residents, the City is exploring a temporary tenting area in the south-west corner of Topaz Park.

“No final decision has been made as to a temporary tenting location. We’re seeking input from residents,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. "Council has been working hard on this issue for many months. The proposed temporary tenting area is an immediate, but bandaid solution. It’s no substitute for affordable housing, which the City is also working hard on with its many partners."

If shelter space is not available, a person who is homeless can take shelter in a City park overnight. For the past year, shelters have been at capacity and there are currently an estimated 130 people sleeping in City parks each night. Currently, this takes place in the absence of adequate sanitation, support services and oversight.

The City’s approach to establishing a designated sheltering area in a park is to seek a service partner who will manage the operation of the site and develop a model for services that address things like garbage, behaviour, and support services. Upon identification of a park that may be suitable, the City will seek public input on the proposed service model and location. City Council will then consider approval of the service model and budget to pilot a designated area.

Topaz Park has been identified for consideration, and City staff are exploring it further for suitability among other options.  On Thursday, July 30 at 7 p.m. Mayor Lisa Helps and Councillor Ben Isitt are hosting a preliminary walk-about for the community to assess and provide input. Citizens are invited to meet by the field house and washroom in the south-west corner of the park.  Parking is available in the lot off Topaz Avenue, near Blanshard Street. Everyone is welcome. The walk-about will be held rain or shine. Input can also be submitted to engage@victoria.ca.

City Council is considering a number of measures to provide increased housing and improved services and supports to those without homes, and address the impacts of homelessness. Additional background is included within recent reports on this matter: