My advice for the tent invasion here, is for us to embrace what’s happening and turn this reality into perspective. Recent history of encampments in Victoria and Vancouver’s east end turned violent when force was used to only try to end it.
If I was in the mayor’s chair, I would have set a precedent by immediately setting up temporary male and female washrooms, equipped with showers and sinks at the very least. Over this winter, I would with council approval ask city engineering to develop the site as a campground and giving those living there now a lottery name draw for first site picks when the development is complete.
When the site is complete it enables us now as the taxpayer landlord to collect their shelter money allocated to each individual.
Each individual would have their own site. Their approximate monthly shelter money of $400 would be paid directly to city coffers each month of their stay.
The city would supply the tents needed to thus keep “build your own projects” out of the question. Also, a damage deposit for each site would be collected. Each site too would have electrical installed. Now you have the ability to force all people that are camping out through out our downtown, to either move to camping at “Moccasin Flats” or take the Crowbar Hotel.
Our neighbour to the south, Quesnel’s police force will arrest anyone in their downtown if they don’t have a legitimate reason to be there!
Those that are not following their bylaw get to talk to their judge on the next business day, meaning an over night stay at you-know-where and then possible community hours to follow.
Last and importantly would be double-wide trailers set up with things to do to pass one’s day and night. The solution to this would be for the city to hire entertainment specialists to run programs that are stimulating and engaging. There would be no access up to Patricia Boulevard except at Queensway.
Only the resident fox will have access, as he does now, in search of a cat or two. Security cameras built into the buildings to keep everyone safe is No. 1 on the list of the Golden rules. This, if implemented, will keep us all safe.
There is approximately four to five acres making it possible say for 200-plus tenting sites, of which would amount to approximately $80,000 a month in revenue for the city collections department.