UPDATE: Anita Place camp resident barricades himself in shelter as more inspections take place

He is refusing entry to fire, police or bylaw officials who are at the camp enforcing safety regulaions imposed by a court order

An Anita Place Tent City resident barricaded himself inside his wooden shelter Sunday morning, refusing to allow entrance to the fire department, police or bylaws who are at the camp enforcing safety regulations imposed by a court order.

Dwayne Martin, one of the original camp residents, was adamant that nobody was going to enter his “house”.

“They want to come into my house and take the last bit of sources of heat that I have,” said Martin.

“I am going to fight,” he said about keeping his one source of heat, a propane tank with a propane heater.

“I am fighting to stay in a rat-infested area. This is ridiculous. And they want to take my only source of heat,” he added as he waited for officials to reach his door.

A barricade was set up around the camp on Saturday and residents are being asked for identification to be put on a list for housing.

Electricity to the camp and heat to its warming tent were cut off Friday, when it snowed, and remained so on Saturday, while heat sources were removed.

On Friday, when the fire department arrived at the site, the electrical service panel for the camp was exposed to the elements and the electrical connections were tampered with, creating a significant life safety risk, according to the city.

In addition to the electrical panel tampering, the fire department noticed the smell of propane in the area.

“Today they are continuing what they started yesterday which is doing inspections tent to tent and taking away anything they say is violating the fire order,” said Ivan Drury with Alliance Against Displacement, that organizes the camp on 223rd Street in Maple Ridge.

“They’ve issued an additional inspection order saying that they are going return tomorrow again between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and do another inspection of all of the tents. It’s feeling like a harassment of people’s personal spaces,” he said.

Yesterday there were four structures with locks on the doors that fire, police and city officials were unable to enter.

By 11 a.m. on Sunday officials were able to enter three of those structures, with Martin’s shelter being the last hold-out.

“Dwayne is saying he is not consenting to a search of his property, of his home, or for them to seize the only means he has to be warm inside this place,” said Drury.

“This is a person who has been living at the camp for two years where the only interactions he’s had with fire departments and police in those two years have been them telling him what he has to get rid of in order to meet their orders that feel completely arbitrary. And they offer him nothing in return in order to make himself warm and dry,” he added.

The incident lasted about three hours, resulting in the arrest of five members of the Alliance Against Displacement, including Drury, and Martin, the only camp resident to be taken into custody.

Listen Chen and two others who were arrested had chained themselves to a ladder outside of Martin’s door as fire officials and police attempted to take down the barricade.

Tweets from the organization said that the situation was tense and that they were afraid of what was going to happen.

Camp supporter Chris Bossley watched the events unfold on the outside of the police barricade.

“This has been an extremely disturbing day,” said Bossley.

“It’s surreal. I cannot believe that this sort of operation is taking place in the sleepy town of Maple Ridge. We have police from detachments all over the Lower Mainland for a bunch of homeless people. I mean, it’s ludicrous,” she added.

Lenee Son, organizer with Alliance Against Displacement, said the arrests were a show of force by the police.

“Instead of de-escalating the situation, the police used force to enter and break into the home of a resident. This was completely uncalled for and a show of militarization by the police,” she said, adding that it was without his consent and against the court order.

She said the Alliance is calling on B.C. Housing to purchase the new condo building that is under construction across the street from the camp in order to house Anita Place residents.

A city press release Sunday afternoon said that additional propane tanks, fuel cans, patio heaters and a gas powered generator were located during the inspections and that they were removed from the site and disposed of.

It also said that the Maple Ridge Fire Department was unable to gain entry to a wooden structure and reported a violation of the court order to the RCMP, who dealt with the situation.

“The city greatly appreciated the support of the RCMP today and professionalism that they demonstrated in the performance of their duties,” said Mayor Mike Morden.

Inspections of tents and structures on the site will continue on Monday. The work will include debris scattered around the site, the proximity of tents and structures to the fence, and to each other, in order to bring the site in compliance with the court order.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

On Feb. 22 fire department personnel noticed the smell of propane in the area of Anita Place Tent City. An inspection of the fenced off area around the propane tanks supplying gas for the warming tent revealed that the lock had been cut and that one of the 80 lb tanks had been tampered with to refill small 20lb BBQ tanks.

When the fire department arrived at the site Feb. 22, they discovered the electrical service panel for the camp was exposed to the elements and the electrical connections were tampered with. (Contributed)

Just Posted

13 productions shooting in Maple Ridge this month alone

Maple Ridge was one of the first Lower Mainland municipalities to welcome back film crews

ON COOKING: Chef Dez offers help in the kitchen during a pandemic

COVID-19 has more people at home and spending time in the kitchen

NETWORKING: Cultural competency is crtical in Maple Ridge, too

VIDEO: In response to Black Lives Matter, the CN Network conducted a number of local interview

Flames will start new season based in Abbotsford

Junior B team could not find ice in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows

LETTER: Glad to say goodbye to CERB for local drug users

Reader feels COVID subsidy contributed to more overdose deaths among Maple Ridge homeless

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Police investigating shooting in North Delta

Police say occupants of two vehicles exchanged gunfire near 120th Street and 82nd Avenue

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

TransLink CEO asks riders not to enforce mask rules after Surrey bus punch-up

A fight broke out on a bus at 96 Avenue and Scott Road involving a man who refused to wear a mask

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Most Read