Saanich enforces fire order on Regina Park encampment
June 19, 2018
For immediate release
Saanich, BC – On Friday, June 15, 2018 the Saanich Fire Department issued a second Fire Inspection Order to the Regina Park encampment. The order, pursuant to the Fire Services Act, affirms numerous mandatory requirements for fire and life safety inside and outside of the tents that were included in the first Fire Inspection Order issued to the encampment on June 8, 2018, as well as the following additional requirements:
No smoking in the park;
Tall grass that has been cut must be removed; and
Tents shall not be placed within three metres of a fence or structure.
On both June 8 and June 15, the occupiers of the encampment were directed by the Saanich Fire Department to comply with all items immediately in order to mitigate fire and life safety hazards in the park. Without limiting the importance of any of the directives which have been issued, of particular concern to the Saanich Fire Department were: the close groupings of tents (which are made of and contain flammable materials), the proximity of tents near to, or within, long grass (which has been drying in the recent heat and is a risk to spreading fire), and the proximity of tents to wooden residential fences (which is considered a structural fire hazard to residences adjacent to those fences).
Due to continued non-compliance with the fire inspection orders, as of Tuesday, June 19, 2018, the Saanich Fire Department, with support from Saanich Police, has begun taking direct action to address fire and life safety hazards in Regina Park. As a first step, tents and shelters must be separated from one another by at least one metre and arranged to maintain a clear path of egress to a safe area. Parks Department staff will cut the grass as part of Saanich’s annual maintenance program to mitigate fire risk within the park. Tents will also be cleared back from residential wooden fencing so as address the risk of fire spreading to such fencing. Other steps may follow. In addition to such direct action, efforts will continue to achieve voluntary compliance with the fire inspection orders by the occupiers of the encampment.
This current Fire Inspection Order enforcement is intended to address urgent and discrete risks to public safety and the enforcement is not intended to address the broader issue of the illegal occupation of the park. The District continues to work towards a resolution of the illegal encampment upon the park property.
Updates about the Regina Park encampment as well as a copies of the fire inspection orders and Notice to Vacate are available at saanich.ca/encampment.
Megan Catalano, Communications Manager
250-475-5494 ext. 3444