Province moves to fully dismantle Vancouver Island tent city that has survived government opposition for months

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      B.C. authorities appear to be making final arrangements to break up a camp of homeless people that has occupied a section of Goldstream Provincial Park since mid-September.

      "We need to be working together with them. Our goal is to get them into proper housing. There are many years of neglect," B.C. housing minister Selina Robinson told CBC News. "We know that we're not done yet."

      Victoria-based journalist Liz McArthur has been posting updates from the park on Twitter. " A school bus and flatbed truck have now entered Goldstream park as province works to move the 18 or so homeless campers to shelters," she wrote there yesterday morning (October 1). "The campers have to be out of the park tomorrow."

      The homeless camp in Goldstream park on Vancouver Island appeared after the provincial government cleared homeless people from a previous settlement in Saanich that residents and activists had dubbed "Camp Namegans".

      The week of September 10, some 100 campers were forced to relocate, some of them settling in Goldstream park shortly after.

      Marilou Gagnon, a nurse and associate professor at the University of Victoria, has  been involved with the camps and written commentaries about developments there for the Straight.

      "Over the past four months, Camp Namegans has been providing a sanctuary to people who are in desperate need of housing in Greater Victoria," she wrote on September 10.

      "As autonomous spaces, tent cities allow homeless people to exercise self-determination over their homes and their lives. In turn, this improves their general health and well-being. This stands in stark contrast to institutionalized spaces like shelters and supportive housing, which leave very little room for homeless people to make decisions about their lives and connect with each other."

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      Robinson and the NDP government have said that everyone who is presently living in Goldstream park will be relocated to a shelter, although she conceded this is only an "interim" solution.