For the second time in less than a week, the residents of ‘Camp Namegans’ have been uprooted and moved along from their latest “home” in Regina Park. Pro bono lawyer for the residents, John Heaney said the BC provincial government ordered Saanich Police clear ‘Namegans Nation’ from the B.C.’s transportation ministry land.
The ministry insists the eviction is a safety issue, and argued that before a judge when seeking a ruling for an interim injunction to be put in place while the status of the encampment was argued in a separate case. The judge allowed a ten month injunction, making a provision that the point of Charter rights in the case could be argued further at that time.
“An injunction of this type…is essentially a final order, because once you’ve dispersed people, you don’t anticipate that they’re gonna wait for the time it takes to have a court case, and if they’re victorious, come back to the same place; they need somewhere to live now.”
Heaney called the decision an “unfortunate contrast” to how the courts had handled similar requests for injunctions against the so-called, ‘Super Intent City’ behind the Provincial Court a few years ago. In that instance, Heaney says,
“The court initially denied the injunction, and said, ‘We’re gonna go to trial on these issues.’ Including: Is your constitutional right a defense to being trespassers?, or said, ‘We’re gonna have a trial of whether there’s a Section 7 right to be encamped in the daytime.’
It’s not clear just where the 40+ campers at Namegans Nation, many who consider themselves a community, are to go to next. Victoria CBC radio quotes camp resident and homelessness activist, Chrissy Brett saying,
“At the end of the day, there weren’t housing options that were made available to people who were at [the previous site].”
The original Namegans provided a sheltering place for more than 100 people.
The housing situation in Greater Victoria mirrors that of other cities, where booming real estate and building markets by turns raise rents, while renovating and demolishing affordable housing spaces across the region.
“This is a provincial problem, this is a national problem and people really need to start changing the way that they look at one-size-fits all model of housing.”