City of Langford held a conference call with Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions on Wednesday, to address tent city concerns in the Langford community.
Young met with nearly 200 residents across from Goldstream Park over the weekend who expressed their concerns about the increase in crime in the area within the last week, safety and cleanliness of the park.
The ministries discussed creating more affordable housing, but Mayor Stew Young said he made his point clear that the City of Langford supports affordable housing, noting it is something the city has won national awards for. Young feels the responsibility lies with the provincial government to find tent city members housing and he doesn’t want Langford taxpayers to be burdened with the problem of homelessness.
“The ministries are looking for partnerships with municipalities and we’ve done our part,” Young said. “We partner with M’akola Group and Pacifica Housing.”
He said the provincial government communicated their plan for more modular housing, which is intended for short-term stays, but Young said he thinks they should be thinking long-term and building long-term.
The City of Langford staff informed the ministers that the community around tent city is feeling unsafe and that there has been an increase in vandalism in the area.
The city got permission from the province to allow two neighbourhood representatives, escorted by police, to walk through campground at Goldstream Park to provide status updates to the community.
“We will do as much as we can and make sure our communities are safe,” Young said.
Langford staff suggested to the province, they approach the people who live in tent city the same as people who stay in modular housing units, such as providing help if they are dealing with mental health issues. Young said providing those services is more important with tent city being so close to a neighbourhood.