Tent city at Canadian cathedral ‘out of control,’ dean says

By André Forget
Posted May 31, 2016

[Anglican Journal] In a May 15 sermon at Christ Church Cathedral, the Very Rev. Ansley Tucker, the Victoria, British Columbia, cathedral’s dean, announced she would be calling for the homeless camp — pitched across the street from the cathedral since October 2015 — to be dismantled and alternative accommodation found for its residents.

“For several weeks, as some of the more stabilizing leaders of the [tent city] community have departed, we have witnessed the devolution of the campsite,” she explained. Matters that had been relatively well in hand, such as non-violence, tidiness, respect for safety and general neighborliness, she noted, have “spiraled out of control.”

After months of advocacy on behalf of Super InTent City –- the community of more than 100 that sprung up on the lawn of the Victoria courthouse on the corner of Quadra Street and Burdett Avenue – the dean said that a “dramatic” increase in incidents had caused cathedral leadership to reconsider its approach.

Things came to a head when a naked person was found in one of the cathedral washrooms, another individual began exhibiting symptoms of “excited delirium” and, on two occasions, children witnessed intravenous drug use on the cathedral precinct.

Given the presence of Christ Church Cathedral School within a block of the camp, the dean said the cathedral needed to act in the best interests of the children.

She reaffirmed the cathedral’s support for the tent city residents, but argued, “No one, including the campers, is being well served by the current state of affairs.” She said she plans on speaking with B.C. housing minister Rich Coleman and Victoria’s mayor, Lisa Helps, about the situation.