Charles Hoey Park Encampment Given Notice to Vacate

Duncan, BC – Council has taken action to remove the encampment at Charles Hoey Park (the “Park”).  On April 6th, 2017, Mayor and Council of the City of Duncan conducted a Special Council Meeting and passed the following resolution:

That Council direct staff to remove the encampment at Charles Hoey Park, enforce the Parks and Public Open Spaces Bylaw No. 3154, 2016, and other relevant bylaws, and if voluntary compliance fails, proceed with civil injunctive relief pursuant to section 274 of the Community Charter.

This encampment in the Park disrupts Duncan residents’ right to use and enjoy their public park.  The City’s bylaws do not permit a permanent encampment and City staff have communicated the breaches of the City’s bylaw regulations to the campers. The campers have refused to move.

This Sunday April 9th, the Legion will be holding a ceremony to commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge at the cenotaph in the Park. The Legion expects approximately 50 people to be in attendance.  However, some tents are meters away from the cenotaph and the campers would be a major disruption to a service that honours the fallen men and women of our country.

This afternoon, staff delivered “Notice to Vacate” letters from our legal counsel to the organizer and all campers.  These Notices were also taped to tents that were unoccupied.  The Notice requires that the campers vacate by noon on Saturday April 8th, or the City will proceed with legal action, in accordance with the direction provided by Council.

The campers have an opportunity to voluntarily comply with the City’s bylaw rather than be forced to do so by the courts.   The City will not allow a Victoria court house tent city situation to develop in Charles Hoey Park.  If the campers refuse to vacate, the City will immediately enforce its bylaws by following the standard local government process for encampment removal by way of civil injunctive relief.

Warmland House has confirmed that there are enough shelter beds available for all campers who are at Charles Hoey Park.

The City, through its measured and reasonable approach, acknowledges the competing interests in this situation and is working to address the concerns of all stakeholders. The City will be approaching the Municipality of North Cowichan and Cowichan Tribes to work on a collaborative approach to advocate for social housing locally. The Mayor and Councillors will also be attending the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Conference this weekend and will be discussing the need for the Province to commit funds locally for affordable housing.

The City requests that all parties maintain patience, civility and respect as the City works through this issue.  Respectful dialogue, feedback and suggestions from the community are welcome.