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Battle over homeless camp back in court

City of Maple Ridge seeking a delay in process to clear tent city

The city wants more time to get its legal papers in order to clear out Anita Place Tent City.

Ivan Drury, with the Alliance Against Displacement and who helped organize the tent city, said the City of Maple Ridge will seek a delay Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court as it seeks to get a court order to clear the tent camp on St. Anne Avenue.

That’s because lawyers for the tent city have handed over an avalanche of affadavits from camp residents, neighbours and experts attesting to the value of the camp.

“We submitted a significant amount of evidence,” said Dury.

About 40 statements were filed on Friday with the court, half from residents of the tent city saying they feel safe and secure living there, and the other half from surrounding neighbours and experts supporting the camp.

Anita Place Tent City started in early May on 0.8 of an acre, triangle-piece of property the city wants to turn into a neighbourhood park. The city had an open house on the park proposal on May 4.

Drury said the city initially wanted the injunction as soon as possible so it could clear the camp. But after the response by Pivot Legal Society lawers for the camp, the city now wants more time to respond.

Camp organizers, in early June, had previously been granted a two-week delay.

“It’s very likely that the court will grant them an adjournment,” Drury said.

Camp organizers, in particular, have been fighting the decision to remove Porta-potties from the location, forcing the residents to dig their own latrine.

“We’re in the waiting game,” Dury said. “We are going to defend the lives and well-being of homeless people in that camp and everywhere in Maple Ridge according to the Charter rights and security of the person.”

He added that it’s shameful that the city is denying sanitation and garbage collection at the camp.

Drury said the city told the Porta-potty provider to remove them from the Anita Place Tent City. But he noted that a judge ordered the City of Vancouver to provide Porta-potties at a camp in that city during an adjournment.

“We’ve been asking for that since it started. We’ve been asking for the basic amenities that all people in Maple Ridge are provided,” Drury said.

He added that camp organizers have a few conditions attached to the court granting a second delay in the process of Maple Ridge getting a court order to allow it to clear the camp.