Large spotlights were brought in and crews worked through the night to remove remaining structure and debris from Tent City.
“We have now provided or offered housing to all those who needed it. We were able to bring this situation to a peaceful resolution, and now we can go in and start to clean up the site,” Rich Coleman, Minister Responsible for Housing said in a statement.
Homes have been provided or offered to everyone at the Victoria’s courthouse site who requested housing, and the encampment has been shut down, in accordance with Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson’s ruling on July 5.
Hinkson ruled that the encampment on the Victoria courthouse lawn was unsafe for those living there and for the neighbouring residents and businesses, so the encampment must be closed.
He ordered that as housing became available, and by not later than Aug. 8, the defendants should remove all structures, tents, etc. from the site.
The provincial government has provided housing to more than 300 people from the encampment, including more than 100 who recently moved into the former Central Care Home.
In accordance with the chief justice’s order, the Province collected the names of all those at the site who were in need of housing and gave them opportunity to move into housing at the former Central Care Home.
All those occupying the encampment have now left, and the site has been fenced off.
A/Chief Constable Watson’s statement on the closure of Tent City:
“Our Department had been working towards this peaceful resolution with those on site, our partners and those impacted in the surrounding community since early November 2015. Our officers have been there from the very beginning. We listened to everyone involved and we helped bring partners together. When the risk to public safety grew, we worked with Victoria City Council to secure additional funding to increase our presence on and around the site. This increased presence helped keep things as peaceful as possible and helped to address the concerns of the surround community.
Our work was not without risk to our members. Several of our officers were injured in the course of their duties. Many of our officers took on extra work, taking time away from their families to focus on helping resolve this issue. There have been many in our organization, from civilian members to sworn officers, who have worked countless hours towards today’s peaceful resolution. Our Senior Command Team and I are proud of their work.
Today, I would like to recognize all of our partners who helped make today possible. I would also like to acknowledge the patience and professionalism that our officers have consistently demonstrated over the last 10 months. Their work in fostering and maintaining partnerships with a range of community groups and individuals was a key factor in today’s peaceful resolution.“