Dec 5, 2017

A small demonstration camp has set up on public property near the Colwood Park & Ride to raise awareness about homelessness in our region.

This camp has moved to a new location in the CRD every seven to fourteen days over the past several months, and arrived in Colwood on Tuesday afternoon from View Royal. Their stated plan is to move to another municipality after ten to fourteen days in Colwood. 

A BC Provincial Court ruling allows people with no home to camp temporarily on publicly owned land if sufficient alternative shelter is not available.

The Colwood Public Works department will be monitoring waste management at the camp throughout the week and will attend to the area when the campers depart, to ensure it is returned to its normal state. A portable washroom and garbage cans have been provided to help keep the site clean.

Based on the experience of other municipalities, there is no reason to believe public safety will be compromised by this demonstration. The demonstration organizers have been in contact with West Shore RCMP about their plans and the RCMP will continue to be involved in monitoring the site over the coming week. 

The issue of homelessness is complex and polarizing. This time-limited and peaceful demonstration provides an opportunity to consider the issue of homelessness from other perspectives, and to be part of the conversation about addressing homelessness in our region.

See also: Homeless demonstration camp: talking about solutions

New affordable housing under construction in Colwood

The City of Colwood has approved $886,000 in grants and waived amenity contributions to offer new affordable housing options in the community. Pacifica Housing is building 82 units of affordable housing at 2006 Sooke Road, and the Greater Victoria Housing Society has plans for 104 units at 324 Wale Road.  Read more: Colwood approves significant contributions to affordable housing

Ways to help

There are many ways to provide supplies or financial support, or to volutneer your time to help those in need in Greater Victoria. Three local West Shore examples are listed below.

The Christmas Backpack Project is a Colwood-grown program that accepts donations to provide people who find themselves on the streets with backpacks filled with necessities and comfort supplies such as toiletries, healthy snacks, socks, gloves, umbrellas and blankets. There is a donation box inside the front doors of Colwood City Hall.

The Goldstream Food Bank accepts donations to provide food and supplies for those in need. Most grocery stories on the West Shore have donation bins and ways to provide financial support. 

The Royal Bay Secondary School 10,000 Tonight Food Drive happens on December 13, 2017. High School students will be going door to door throughout the community collecting non perishable food items.