Sheltering in Fairfield Gonzales parks

A statement from our Board:

Homelessness is a serious, ongoing challenge, and it has become much more visible with sheltering in parks in communities across Canada and around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic as shelters reduce capacity in order to maintain physical distancing.

Homelessness and sheltering outdoors is an issue that needs to be addressed through collaboration by all levels of government – municipal, regional, provincial and federal – with provision of housing, restoring funding for mental health care and facilities, addiction prevention and treatment, and more.

As a neighbourhood association, FGCA wishes to do its small part to improve the situation for all members of the neighbourhood – housed and unhoused. We are working with Victoria Community Association Network to call for sustainable, long-term solutions rather than reactive measures that result in shifting people from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

In addition, community members in Fairfield Gonzales and across Victoria have been acting to improve communication and understanding among all members of the neighbourhood, and FGCA will work to support their actions.

If you have time and wish to volunteer to contribute to this work, ideas for solutions to specific issues, or items to donate such as tarps and totes, please get in touch with Virginie at event@fairfieldcommunity.ca .

Statement/correction regarding the proposed Community Care Tent:

It has come to our attention that there is a perception that the FGCA has expressed support for a Community Care Tent to serve people sheltering in Beacon Hill Park/Meegan, and opinions on potential locations of that tent. The FGCA has not taken any position on the establishment of this tent. We know that it is a complex issue that would have impacts in the community.

There is a group of volunteers who are helping to provide supports to people sheltering in parks while this is the only option available to them. We understand that individuals who are volunteering in this capacity attended a meeting and identified themselves as FGCA and expressed their personal opinions on the Community Care Tent. These individuals were not speaking on behalf of the FGCA and are not authorized to speak on behalf of the FGCA. Any opinions expressed were their own.

We are doing our best to clarify and correct this perception in the community and with Mayor and Council.


Support group for the unhoused: delivers your donations to the campers in Meegan (Beacon Hill Park)

 

 

In November 2020, about a hundred people shelter mostly in Beacon Hill Park, waiting for housing support. Until the City offers every one of them a place to live, these human beings’ basic needs are not fulfilled: a dry and warm place to sleep, 3 meals a day, basic hygiene supplies and equipment… Without the opportunity to meet those needs, people’s capacity to access healthcare, employment, or even permanent housing is compromised. Providing basic items to them is not only a matter of survival through the winter, it is hope for a better tomorrow for them.

A group of a dozen volunteers (contact persons) are acting as liaison with the campers, making sure the donations get delivered to them. In addition, because the needs are both very important but also changing from week to week, the volunteers will make sure the donated items correspond to what the campers need. Help our unsheltered neighbours to keep the parks clean by making sure the items you want to donate correspond to our last social media calls!

If you would like to request the latest list of needed items, please email Virginie at event@fairfieldcommunity.ca

 

Cash donations are also really helpful. Donate by clicking this button:

canada-helps

 

 


Resources and info on sheltering in parks:

The 7am-7pm bylaw which required unhoused individuals to pack up during the day has been relaxed, and at this time shelters can remain up during the day. These are the rules outlined on the City of Victoria webpage for sheltering in City parks.

  • Sheltering is not permitted in environmentally sensitive areas, playgrounds, sports fields, flower beds, cemeteries, footpaths, and roads within a park
  • No fires, open flames or flammable gas canisters are permitted
  • Do not attach shelters to trees or shrubs, park benches, lamp posts or other structures
  • Do not remove tree branches or use City property to construct shelters
  • Keep your shelter site clean and properly dispose of all garbage
  • Be more than four metres (12 feet) away from another occupied tent or structure
  • updated: October 1, 2020: Handout outlining new bylaws, services, and parks where sheltering is permitted.

Overnight sheltering is currently not permitted in the following Fairfield Gonzales parks:

  • Moss Rocks Park
  • Robert Porter Park

Neighbourhood Contacts

If you are concerned about an activity in a park, please contact the appropriate department or organization from the list below.

  • City of Victoria: Bylaw Services
    • To report a bylaw violation or submit a service request (parks, sidewalks, etc) you can use the online reporting toolon the City of Victoria website
    • Contact Manager of Bylaw Services: Shannon Perkins at sperkins@victoria.ca or 250-361-0215
  • City of Victoria: Parks Department
    • To request maintenance or clean-up in a park (garbage, needles, etc), contact the City of Victoria Parks Office at parks@victoria.caor 250-361-0600
    • Email Director of Parks, Recreation, and Facilities: Thomas Soulliere at tsoulliere@victoria.ca
    • Request a needle pick up from SOLID Outreachby calling 250-298-9497.
  • City of Victoria: Public Works
    • To request removal of items that have been illegally dumped by contact Public Works at 250-361-0400 or email pw@victoria.ca.
  • Victoria Police
    • To report a crime in progressor an immediate threat to safety: CALL 911
    • To report a crime or traffic complaint after it has occurred, you can use the online reporting tool 
    • Or, you can call VicPD’s non-emergency line at 250-995-7654
    • Contact Community Resource Officer: Mark Jenkins at 250-888-6491
  • VIHA Encampment Outreach Team
    • To request support from the VIHA Outreach team which includes a Nurse and a Mental Health Crisis Response Counsellor between 8am-8pm call the outreach phone number: 250-216-9119
    • Provides on site medical assistance, COVID tests, flu shots (when available), mental health and crisis intervention and support, assistance filling out BC Housing forms.
  • City of Victoria: Mayor and Council