Globe: Victoria’s ‘tent city’ on verge of becoming public health hazard

August 28, 2010 at 12:04 am 2 comments

Lack of hygienic facilities, group of injection-drug users pose potential risk, says B.C.’s chief medical health officer

Brennan Clarke

Victoria — From Saturday’s Globe and Mail Published on Friday, Aug. 27, 2010 8:46PM EDT

Two years ago, a landmark court ruling gave homeless people the right to pitch their tents in Victoria city parks. Now the province’s chief medical health officer says a bustling “tent city” made possible by that decision is on the verge of becoming a public health hazard.

“Any time you have a number of people camped together without hygienic facilities for a period of time there’s a potential for a health risk to those individuals,” Dr. Perry Kendall said.

Robert Randall, chairman of the Victoria Downtown Residents Association, said most nights this summer anywhere from 30 to 60 people have set up tents, tarps and makeshift shelters on the site, including a core group who have either refused shelter or been banned from Our Place.

The result has been an increase in violent crime, drug use, prostitution, used needles and discarded condoms.

“It’s become a drug-buying destination for the region, there are old blankets and sleeping bags and refuse everywhere and people are increasingly using the area as a toilet,” Mr. Randall said.

Similar problems occurred outside the former AIDS Vancouver Island needle exchange on Cormorant Street, less than three blocks from Our Place, Mr. Randall said.

The City is supposed to announce some sort of new initiative soon.

One thing no-one ever mentions is the welfare of the Our Place residents. Don’t they deserve a home where the front door is free from drug pushers? Do the most vulnerable members of our society have to push their way through a gauntlet of drugs just to get home?

Entry filed under: City Hall, Harris Green, media, needle exhange, Our Place, safe injection sites, social issues. Tags: , , , , , .

Advocate: economy-size discounted mouthwash can kill TC: City might ban boulevard camping

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Yule Heibel  |  August 28, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Excellent question re. the residents of Our Place and whether or not they don’t deserve a drug-free, safe place.

    I don’t have any faith in any announcements of city initiatives, sadly. Not sure what’s wrong here, but this laissez-faire crap approach gets a big #fail from me. Sorry.

  • 2. robertrandall  |  September 3, 2010 at 10:27 am

    So it turns out the rumoured initiative was indeed this new bylaw against boulevard camping. A blunt instrument to be sure but I think this is the needed stick to go along with the many bunches of carrots being offered.


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