Final cost for Saanich homeless camp approaches $1 million

It is uncertain what impact the camp will have on 2019 tax rates

The bill for the former homeless camp in Regina Park is starting to come in, but it is not clear whether it will impact next year’s tax rate.

A draft report from the District of Saanich says the municipality could pay anywhere between $746,000 and $923,500 for all the costs associated with the homeless camp that had set up in Regina Park from early May to Sept. 13. Specific items include policing, the remediation of the park, storage for campers’ gear and a hygiene station with showers and toilets near Municipal Hall.

RELATED: Saanich earmarks additional funds for homeless camp

Policing costs alone could add up to more than $500,000. The total cost of policing will have reached $315,000 by the end of September, and authorities may spend anywhere between $55,000 and $232,000 for additional costs.

Saanich police closed the homeless camp on Sept. 13 following a court ruling. Some of the camp’s residents have since set up an encampment in Goldstream Provincial Park and are threatening to visit 100 locations in 100 days.

RELATED: Tent city in Saanich’s Regina Park shuts down

Mayor Richard Atwell said the estimates in the report appear in line with earlier estimates, but issues remain.

“Short term, it has drained our contingency fund,” he said. “Long-term, I think it’s under control. However, the next budget cycle will have to consider from where the contingency fund will be topped up.”

One question looming in the background is whether Regina Park would lead to higher taxes. Saanich residents heard in July their taxes will not go up in 2018 as council earmarked its entire 2018 contingency fund — $700,000 — towards extra costs associated with the tent city in Regina Park near Uptown.

RELATED: West Shore residents hold forum regarding homeless camping at Goldstream

Valla Tinney, director of finance, said in the summer costs associated with the camp will not lead to a tax increase in 2018, because tax rates are already set. Depending on circumstances though, it could lead to a tax lift in 2019, she said.

Atwell said that question will be part of the budget process. “We don’t know what the tax level will be until the new council deliberates on the budget process,” he said.

Stan Bartlett, chair of the Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria, said this “huge tent city bill” is one of many Saanich taxpayers will face this year.

“With a major shift in councillors — there will be at least four — it’s the perfect time to start to do council business differently,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

RCMP ‘desperate’ for clues in case of missing Parksville mom

Carmel Gilmour was last seen more than a year ago

Mental health issue suspected after spike belts end car chase from Parksville

Woman in her 30s from the Nanaimo area detained in Lantzville after Tuesday afternoon incident

Parksville Qualicum Beach drivers reminded to be aware of possible icy road conditions

Shaded areas, bridge decks and corners are common areas where slippery conditions can occur

Multiple Parksville resorts report stolen Christmas decorations

Oceanside RCMP say three thefts likely occurred on same night

Winds of up to 90 km/hr predicted to hit Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is warning that loose objects may cause damage

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

Boy with terminal disease gets his wish – a trip to Disneyland – but family still looking for support

Kaleb Francis, 4, was diagnosed last month with X-linked myotubular myopathy

B.C. city considers scrapping funds for Christmas decorations

Victoria city coun. Ben Isitt doesn’t think the government should pay for any religious symbols

Prosecution in Colin John murder trial wrapping up in Duncan

John on trial for stabbing death in Chemainus in 2016

Out of the doghouse: B.C. city lifts ban on pup who barked too much at dog park

Cameron the Shetland sheepdog is allowed back into Uplands off-leash dog park under some conditions.

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Most Read