City Unsuccessful in Resolving a Disbandment of Park Encampment Outside of the Court Process
Duncan, BC – Efforts to negotiate a disbandment of the Charles Hoey Park Encampment, outside of the court process, have been unsuccessful.
On Thursday April 13th, from 11:30am to 2:00pm, Duncan Mayor Phil Kent, City CAO Peter de Verteuil, and Bylaw Officer Garry Kerr, met with Chrissy Brett and 3 other individuals to attempt to resolve the disbandment of the encampment at Charles Hoey Park.
This meeting was unsuccessful, and on April 18th the Supreme Court of British Columbia will hear the City’s application for an injunction against the unlawful campers in Charles Hoey Park.
“The City offered, if the campers willfully vacated prior to April 18th, that the City would drop the charges and support them in transitioning to Warmland House.” stated Mayor Phil Kent. “Unfortunately Chrissy felt, among other things, that some campers were not welcome at Warmland, and that other campers could not abide by the Warmland House rules.”
Warmland House has confirmed that there are enough shelter beds available for all campers who are at Charles Hoey Park. Even those who have previously been asked to leave the shelter due to inappropriate behavior are welcome to return once their behavior is under control.
“We explained that Council is approaching the Municipality of North Cowichan and Cowichan Tribes to work on a collaborative approach to advocate for funding for social housing in the Cowichan Valley, but this takes time.”CAO de Verteuil stated, “We also explained that the encampment risks reducing the very strong local support in the Cowichan Valley to advocate for housing and homelessness initiatives.”
The encampment was originally established in the park on March 31, 2017 as a protest to advocate for housing. When it became apparent the campers were intending to stay longer term in the park, the campers were served a Notice to Vacate the park by noon on April 8th. When that did not happen, on April 10th the City sought and obtained an order for short leave from the Court to hear the merits of the case on April 18th at the Duncan Courthouse, in order to avoid a Victoria Courthouse situation.
The City’s Parks and Open Spaces Bylaw allows homeless persons (those with no fixed address or no predictable residence to return on a daily basis) to erect overnight shelter in some City parks, subject to some restrictions. Neither permanent nor daytime encampments are permitted in any city park.
The City requests that the public and all stakeholders maintain patience, civility and respect as the City works through the Court process.
For further information contact:
Phil Kent, Mayor
For legal queries contact:
Dominion GovLaw LLP
Attn: Troy DeSouza, Legal Council