Saanich mayoral candidate David Shebib ran in all 13 municipalities in 2014. In 2012 his Free Store along 5090 West Saanich Rd. was shut down by Saanich bylaw officers. He recently invested some 25 homeless individuals to stay on a rural Saanich property, even though it is not his. David Shebib/Facebook

Homeowner surprised when renter invites homeless camp to B.C. backyard

Current mayoral candidate invited roughly 20 campers previously kicked out of Greater Victoria provincial campground

The homeless camp that has sprung up on private property in Greater Victoria might not be for long.

Both the local municipality and Saanich police are exploring their options after the camp’s emergence earlier this week.

Sgt. Julie Fast said the District of Saanich is investigating the camp as a potential zoning violation, while the Saanich Police Department is exploring options through the trespass act and the residential tenancy act.

“While efforts are being made to determine who has lawful authority to be on this property, police will closely monitor the camp and respond to any calls for service relating to it,” she said.

The camp — which Fast describes as a “continuation” of the homeless camp that had occupied Regina Park for several months — came to be after Saanich mayoral candidate David Shebib invited 20 to 25 homeless people displaced from Goldstream Park to the property on West Saanich Rd.

READ MORE: ‘They had nowhere else to go,’ mayoral candidate hosting tent city campers

Most of the group has been together since the tent city at Regina Park and wanted to stay together. They moved in Tuesday afternoon and set up camp next to the house.

Chrissy Brett, spokesperson with the group of campers, said on Tuesday they expected to stay until Oct. 20.

However, Shebib is not the owner, and is not even listed as a tenant, said Sam Seera, who co-owns the property with Gurpal Aujla. Shebib’s son, Andrew McLean, is the listed tenant on a month to month agreement, Seera said.

Seera was unaware of the invitation to the campers at the time, and called the city, the police, and planned to visit the local Residential Tenancy Branch.

Fast said both the municipality and the police have communicated with the campers, property owner, and neighbours.

“Evidence has shown that over the course of that encampment, and the subsequent camp at Ravine Way, the rate of criminal activity in the area increased,” she said.


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wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

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