City Granted Injunction for Beacon Hill Park

The City of Victoria has been granted a court order requiring people without homes sheltering in environmentally and culturally sensitive areas of Beacon Hill Park to relocate to less vulnerable locations within the park.

The application, filed on July 10 in B.C. Supreme Court, sought an order that would require people experiencing homelessness to shelter only in permitted areas of the park and prohibit anyone from sheltering in sensitive areas designated under the City’s Parks Bylaw.

“This is a challenging time for everyone, especially for people in our city who don’t have a home,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “Nevertheless, we expect everyone to respect the court order and relocate now to areas within the park where sheltering is not prohibited. We recognize that this will make those camping more visible and we hope that as a community we can come together to get through this challenging time.”

City Bylaw staff and community outreach workers have been meeting regularly with the approximately 100 people sheltering in Beacon Hill Park and many people have already moved from environmentally sensitive areas.

The relocation plan is being coordinated in a compassionate and collaborative way for people who need to shelter outside while indoor shelters have either closed or significantly reduced services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The City will continue to assist people to move to appropriate areas and connect them with provincial housing supports and health services.

It is anticipated that the remaining moves will be completed quickly and in an orderly manner in compliance with the terms of the court order.

“No one should have to live outside because they don’t have a place to call home, but in our city, throughout the region, and across the country there are countless people forced to do just that,” said Helps.

“The solution to the challenges we are facing in Beacon Hill Park, and in communities across B.C., is housing. The Province is making historic investments in affordable housing in our region and we need the federal government to match that. As a City we are doing everything we can to support these investments with investments of our own – from the Victoria Housing Fund to expediting developments and making City land available for affordable housing projects.”