Beacon Hill Park: B.C. appeals resolution to dam tenting in Victoria park

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The British Columbia government is trying to reverse a court ruling that closed Beacon Hill Park to night camping.

The province is appealing a February decision by the BC Supreme Court that said sheltering was not allowed in the park.

However, questions remain as to why the province is now appealing and on what grounds is the appeal based?

“It was a big surprise,” says John Alexander, the attorney representing the Friends of Beacon Hill Park, a group dedicated to protecting the park’s culture and ecosystem.

The group raised concerns about the people sheltering in the park during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My clients are very upset and concerned about the potential cost of yet another expensive lawsuit,” Alexander told CTV News.

“We have very little idea what is actually on the minds of the Attorney General and his attorneys.”

The city is the trustee of the park and it was she who initially sought clarification on whether camping was allowed there.

The province has indicated that the court’s decision could impact other parks and plans to appeal.

“There are several parks that are subject to such trusts that make the court’s decision significant,” BC Attorney General David Eby said in a statement to CTV News on Thursday.

“The court’s decision raises questions about how changes to the use of all of these parks can be made by the province or the cities where those parks are located, questions about the applicability of the charter, and specifically questions about how the province should.” addressing local First Nations concerns about this particular park,” Eby said.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps declined to be interviewed on the parks matter Thursday, citing the fact that it is a provincial appeal, which is now before the court.

The Friends of Beacon Hill Park attorney called it “very surprising that the province has now come forward and said we want to interrupt or disrupt or reverse the clarity that the court has given all parties.”