April 28, 2021
Dear Mayor & Council
I find myself sitting at my dining table in my tiny apartment in tears as I look out onto Beacon Hill Park. The stress of what is happening in and around the park has triggered my Multiple Sclerosis; I have lost feeling in both my hands and feet. I have worked so hard over the past 25 years to manage my health to prevent this from happening.
For those of you who don’t live in or around the park I need you to understand the stress and trauma it is creating for those of us who do and for those who are sheltering in the park awaiting housing.
I think it is fair to say that most of the people living in Beacon Hill and around the park are not homeless haters and we are supportive of those who have taken shelter and are doing what they can to follow city, provincial and federal laws and bylaws. What we are not supportive of however, is the lawlessness that is both tolerated and to accepted by those of you who are not speaking out against it through the policies you have enacted and your lack of public action.
To be clear, when you don’t speak up about an action that is wrong, you are sending a message that the behaviour is ok. As an example, unrelated to the park, do each of you speak-up against racism or homophobia? Then why not speak-up about the crimes you are aware of in the park?
The other day I asked the Victoria Police Department Intel Section to provide me with crime statistics for the neighbourhood. They ran a property crime and violent crime OFFENCES (not calls) for the area around Beacon Hill Park for the past 5 years (the park and 1-2 blocks) through their system. Did you know that in 2019 there were 57 violent crimes within a 2 block radius of Beacon Hill Park? By 2020 that increased to 76 and is now at 32 for the first quarter of this year. That is a 34% increase since you permitted 24/7 sheltering in the park in 2020 and if we remain on this trajectory it will be over 100%. This is just for violent offences.
As a citizen of Victoria, I am hurting; many others are as well. We are powerless to do anything beyond sharing our stories as this clearly sits in your hands. Regardless of your political beliefs or aspirations please work together as a team and lead us to a place of public safety.
I have worked hard over the past 25 years to manage my disease without medical support or becoming a burden on the medical or social systems. What happens next with my MS now sits with you.
Sent via email to :To: Lisa Helps, Mayor, Victoria BC firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Marianne Alto, Victoria BC email@example.com
Councillor Stephen Andrew, Victoria BC firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Sharmarke Dubow, Victoria BC email@example.com
Councillor Ben Isitt, Victoria BC firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Jeremy Loveday, Victoria BC email@example.com
Councillor Sarah Potts, Victoria BC firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe, Victoria BC email@example.com
Councillor Geoff Young, Victoria BC firstname.lastname@example.org
Honourable Premier of BC, email@example.com
Grace Lore, MLA, Victoria-Beacon Hill, grace.lore.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Laurel Collins, MP, Victoria, firstname.lastname@example.org