An invitation from the Committee to End Homelessness, Harm Reduction Victoria and the Victoria Coalition Against Poverty to community members tenting on Pandora Green and their allies, supporters and friends:
On Thursday, Victoria’s City Council will debate an amendment to the “Streets and Traffic Bylaws” to “better regulate boulevards and medians”. The amendment would force the people camping on the Pandora Boulevard between Quadra and Cook to accept options dictated to them or to put their tents up elsewhere. The most marginalized members of our community will be displaced once again.
Come to City Hall to show your opposition to the amendment! Show your support for peoples’ rights and dignity! We need a critical mass!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!! URGENT ACTION !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Date: Thursday, September 2nd
Time: 10 am – approximately 11 am
Place: City Hall, Pandora between Douglas and Government
SOME BACKGROUND INFO:
– In October 2005, the City of Victoria issues an injunction against people who are camping in a city-owned park. Lawyers challenge the injunction, arguing people have no choice but to camp due to a lack of available shelter beds.
– In May 2008, Victoria’s only fixed-site needle exchange is closed and a “no-go” zone banning the distribution of harm reduction supplies in most of the downtown core is established. People begin to gather on the boulevard on “Pandora Green”, although it is located within the “no-go” zone.
– In October 2008, the British Columbia Supreme Court strikes down a City of Victoria bylaw aimed at preventing homeless people from setting up tents and sleeping in city parks. The Court rules that the bylaw deprived the homeless of life, liberty and security in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The City appeals the decision.
– In April 2009, the City of Victoria approves a $250,000 plan to “beautify” the boulevard on the 900 block of Pandora Ave. The plan is designed to discourage and/or prevent “loitering”. It includes paving the boulevard and installing divided benches, floodlights and sprinklers.
– In June 2009, the City of Victoria loses its appeal of the Supreme Court decision.
– In the spring of 2010, the City admits that no suitable proposals to “beautify” Pandora for less than $250,000 were received. The boulevard on “Pandora Green” continues to be a home to many street-involved community members who cannot access appropriate housing or health services.
– In August 2010, the City quickly and quietly proposes a modification to the street and traffic bylaws, despite opposition within Council.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Pamphlet on Pandora Green: