File: 20-20701

Victoria, BC – Eight people were arrested as officers supported decampment efforts in the 1000 and 900-blocks of Pandora Avenue this afternoon.

On April 25th, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, issued an Order which required the evacuation of camping sites at Topaz Park and the Pandora Avenue Corridor, with a deadline of May 9th. This deadline was later extended to May 20th. On May 20th, Minister Farnworth issued an enforcement order, which authorized police to enforce the evacuation Order.

Decampment is part of a province-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed 155 lives in B.C. and sickened thousands across Canada. The Province of B.C. and City of Victoria have provided housing in the way of motel and hotel rooms in the region as well as modular accommodations in the Save on Foods Memorial Centre Arena. More than 300 people have been housed with improved access access to hygiene facilities, healthcare and social supports.

VicPD officers, City of Victoria Bylaw officers, BC Housing staff, and social services agency staff provided every possible opportunity for those encamped in this area to depart without enforcement action.

Those arrested were transported to Victoria Police Department Headquarters. Their property will be held in safekeeping and returned under the direction of Victoria Bylaw. All persons who were arrested today will be provided with information on how to utilize additional resources and instruction on how to obtain their property from City of Victoria Bylaw Officers.