En­camp­ments might be end­less

Times Colonist - - Comment -

When Victoria city coun­cil­lors meet to dis­cuss fall­ing rev­enues, hope­fully de­lay­ing non-ur­gent cap­i­tal projects (like new bike lanes, a “nice to have” from any per­spec­tive) will be a no­brainer.

Then there are the ever-in­creas­ing costs of end­lessly mov­ing en­camp­ments, fol­lowed by re­me­di­a­tion of each dis­as­trous mess that is pre­dictably left be­hind.

The prov­ince has opted to spend mil­lions to ac­quire ho­tels for the home­less, then more to staff and to main­tain them, but camp­ing on city prop­erty just isn’t go­ing away.

Why not buy or repur­pose a large field, fence and equip it with toi­let fa­cil­i­ties and run­ning wa­ter, and make that the per­ma­nent and only place where home­less camp­ing is al­lowed?

The big­ger ques­tion is, are we fool­ing our­selves into think­ing that ur­ban camp­ing is a short-term is­sue, or do we want to ac­cept it as a per­ma­nent lifestyle that should be freely sup­ported by tax dol­lars for­ever?

Thought­ful planning and longer term so­lu­tions seem nec­es­sary.

Ch­eryl Con­rad Victoria

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