Tim constructed a dome, to which people can attach tarps, to keep sun and rain out. Travis Paterson/News Staff

B.C. tent city camper arrested for taking coins from fountain

The man, who built a shelter at a Saanich park, says homeless people are unfairly targeted

A hand drill, a handsaw, a few dozen zap straps and an old plastic pipe pulled from a dumpster is all Tim needs to construct a dome out of sticks.

The former Calgary resident built one of the domes, about seven feet high and 12 feet wide, for people to use in Camp Namegans at Regina Park. The dome is an art installation but is also big enough to erect a tent inside, or just to tarp over and use as a sheltered outdoor space.

To build the dome, however, he needed batteries for his drill. And to buy the batteries, he needed money ($1.75), which he thought he found in a fountain at Uptown. That led to a conversation with a security guard, which led to Saanich Police officers visiting him at Regina Park to arrest him, and serve him with a charge of theft under $5,000 and a court date for Aug. 27.

“The security guard told me the money was for charity,” Tim said. “I told him I was trying to build an art space for the community here [at Camp Namegans] which was a mistake, if I didn’t say that I wouldn’t have been arrested.”

Tim lives a nomadic life and has a free spirit with a philosophy you won’t find in text books. He calls himself a “salvage bard,” restoring things people throw in dumpsters or leave on the side of the road, and selling them for money. He only recently came to Camp Namegans and has his next destination in mind. But he’s now unsure about travelling since as has to be in Victoria for an Aug. 27 court date.

“I’m not a criminal, I don’t have a criminal record,” Tim said. “Now I don’t know if I’ll be able to travel. I wasn’t going to stay in Victoria all summer, but if I miss that then I’ll be in worse trouble. This is really stupid.”

Saanich Police confirmed a 34-year-old male was arrested for taking money out of the fountain at Uptown on July 15 but can’t name the suspect.

“Patrol officers attended and Uptown security advised they were the lawful owners of the money which they donate to local charities,” said Sgt. Jereme Leslie. “It also said that Uptown Security gave him the opportunity to put the money back, however, he refused.”

In the meantime, Tim will travel up-Island but expects to be back next month to deal with his court date.

Another Camp Namegans resident, Ryan Williams, said he also feels targeted by the community because he lives in a tent city. He’s been in the area for 20 years – mostly in a house – but arrived at the tent city on May 1, when he was forcibly removed from a nearby home he was paying rent to live in, he said.

“There’s a stigma, people think we’re going to do something wrong,” Williams said. “People driving by honk at us and call us names. The other day I was talking to an officer and a woman came by to say other neighbours are putting their garbage out front of their houses hoping that we would pick it up and bring it here.

“Another day I was resting at Harriet and Boleskine letting my dog cool down and I was told by an officer to move on before (the city) got a call.”

Saanich Police, for their part, said they’re doing their job and that there has been an increase in reports from the area.

To date, Camp Namegans has been served a notice of unauthorized occupation by both the District of Saanich and the Ministry of Transportation, as Regina Park falls under both jurisdictions.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Port Hardy’s RCMP Staff Sgt. Wes Olsen: ‘It’s business as usual’ after cannabis legalization

Local RCMP will still be on the lookout for impaired driving despite cannabis legalization.

Jay Dixon finishes top three for School and District Leadership award

“I believe it’s all of our responsibility for our schools to provide quality education,” said Dixon.

7 Mile Landfill operations tender closes October

Taxes covering the landfill have not increased over the past 15 years and are not expected to soon.

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Driving with dope: Police talk rules on cannabis in the car

Even though pot is legal, you can’t smoke in the car

B.C. NDP retreats again on empty-home tax for urban areas

Rate reduced for all Canadians, dissident mayors to get annual meeting

B.C. teens fined for possession of pot on legalization day

The pair received $230 fines for smoking pot in public

Trio of Saint Bernard find their ‘forever home’ after story goes viral

Edmonton Humane Society had put out the call to adopt Gasket, Gunther and Goliath

Tyson’s Thoughts: It’s finally legal!

I might just go peruse a legal cannabis shop or two once they start to pop up around Port Hardy.

Nurses deliver 24,000 anti-violence postcards to B.C. Health Minister

Nurses delivered thousands of postcards to the front steps of the B.C. legislature, each carrying a message for violence prevention

Openly gay, female priest of B.C. church defying norms

Andrea Brennan serves Fernie at pivotal time in church’s history

Nova Scotia works to stop underage online cannabis sales

The government cannabis retailer moves to prevent workaround of online-age verification

Most Read