sheltering in parks

Sheltering in Parks

Weekly Update

Each week, we keep track of the communications we receive about the sheltering taking place in Central Park. Please email to contribute your comments, questions, concerns, and feedback..

View past weekly Bylaw Department and Engagement/Parks Department updates here. 

On January 21, 2021 Council temporarily banned sheltering in Central Park. Council will be revisiting this decision on March 4, 2021.  The NPNA is advocating that Mayor and Council support the staff recommendation brought forward on January 21, 2021 to immediately “add Central Park to the list of parks where sheltering is prohibited.”   The sheltering that took place in Central Park from May through December of 2020 demonstrated that Central Park is an unsuitable location for both 7pm-7am and 24/7 sheltering. Thursday, February 25, 2021, NPNA Board member, Sean Kahil, will be addressing council with a presentation of why Central Park is not suitable for sheltering. You can watch the livestream or find the recording after the meeting is finished here.  If you would like to submit your own letter requesting that sheltering be permanently banned in Central Park, please feel free to use this letter writing template.

February 25, 2021 Letter: “Request to immediately add Central Park to the list of parks where sheltering is prohibited”

Submitted by North Park Neighbourhood Association, Masjid-Al Iman Mosque, Quadra Village Community Centre, Hillside Quadra Neighbourhood Action Committee, St. John the Divine, Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, Family Services of Greater Victoria This request is also supported by The Inter-Culutral Association of Greater Victoria as demonstrated by this letter from CEO, Jean McRae. 

February 25, 2021 Presentation to Council: End Sheltering in Central Park Presentation

Over the past several months, North Park has seen an increase in the number of individuals sheltering in parks, mainly Central Park. There are no designated campgrounds in Victoria and overnight camping is not permitted in Victoria parks. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health directive to “shelter in place” people experiencing homelessness can shelter in City parks (with a few exceptions) while following some basic rules. The 7am-7pm bylaw which required unhoused individuals to pack up during the day has been relaxes, and at this time shelters can remain up during the day. These are the rules outlined on the City of Victoria webpage for sheltering in City parks.
  • Sheltering is not permitted in environmentally sensitive areas, playgrounds, sports fields, flower beds, cemeteries, footpaths, and roads within a park
  • No fires, open flames or flammable gas canisters are permitted
  • Do not attach shelters to trees or shrubs, park benches, lamp posts or other structures
  • Do not remove tree branches or use City property to construct shelters
  • Keep your shelter site clean and properly dispose of all garbage
  • Be more than four metres (12 feet) away from another occupied tent or structure

Sheltering in Parks – Neighbourhood Contacts

If you are concerned about an activity in a park, please contact the appropriate department or organization from the list below. We also invite you to copy the NPNA so that we can keep track of requests relating to sheltering in City parks.
  • Emails:,,
  • If you would like to share the following contacts with your neighbours, please see this Google word document. 
Category Contacts Extra notes
Contact Bylaw Services if you have a question about the bylaws, you’d like to report a bylaw violation or submit a service request (parks, sidewalks, etc)
Report a crime or traffic complaint to Victoria Police Department
  • If it is happening right now call 911
  • If it has already happened use the online reporting tool or call non-emergency at 250-995-7654
Community Resource Officers: Jose Bingham
  • You are invited to contact the Community Resource Officer if you have concerns about a specific individual, a repeat incident, or if you would like to discuss how an incident was handled). Note: make sure to use the online reporting tool in addition to contacting Jose.
If you come across any hazards, if garbages are full, washrooms need to be cleaned, or if you have questions about any City parks or recreation facilities, contact the Parks Department Ask questions or make suggestions about Facilities (fencing, portable washrooms, contracted Footprints Security etc) to David Churchill.
  • Note: When it comes to sheltering in parks, the bylaws fall under the Parks Department. If you have a question about how and/or why the bylaws were developed, what considerations were taken into place, and how they are carried out, contact the Parks Department.
  • Note: The on-site 24/7 Footprints Security has been contracted by the City and is overseen by David Churchill. For questions about Footprints Security, please get in touch with David.
Request removal of items that have been illegally dumped, or ask questions about streets and sidewalks by contacting Public Works
City of Victoria Contacts Council: Mayor:
For on-site medical assistance, COVID tests, flu shots, mental health and crisis intervention and support, assistance filling out BC Housing forms, contact the VIHA Encampment Outreach Team
  • Phone: 250-216-9119 between 8am-8pm
  • The teams work in pairs of one nurse and one counsellor. They wear bright orange backpacks, and drive a white VIHA van.
The NPNA would like to acknowledge the Canadian Red Cross (Employment and Social Development Canada), and SPARC BC for grant funding that has made it possible for us to provide some assistance to North Park’s unhoused neighbours.