Linda Howard was told she’d have to move her truck out of tent city. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Pickup in Maple Ridge park problem parked

Anonymous donor stepped in to save the day

An anonymous donor stepped up Wednesday, paying for three months of ICBC insurance, ending a standoff over a pickup truck parked in Anita Place Tent City.

City of Maple Ridge bylaws wanted the truck removed from the area because it’s considered a park.

But truck owner Linda Howard, who’s lived at the camp since September, said she needed the truck to do errands at the camp.

The insurance had run out and Howard had put a one day of insurance on it on Wednesday.

“They say this is a park. I have to find a place to park it legally.”

A brief standoff at noon took place between Ridge Meadows RCMP officers and camp residents. That soon ended when it was learned that someone had gone to an insurance agency and paid for three months insurance on the 1989 GMC pickup.

With the vehicle insured, it was agreed to park it just outside the tent city on 223rd Street.

Housing advocate Ivan Drury, with Alliance Against Displacement, said if police are able to remove a truck, they’d also be able to remove tents from the camp.

Officials don’t realize how much stress it causes homeless people when they lose their belongings, he added.

Howard, though, must now look for some used tires for the vehicle because the rubber is worn out.

Pivot Legal Society lawyer Anna Cooper said the incident is a “prime example of how we need to focus on helping people, not policing them.”

Police, firefighters and bylaws were occupied for an hour over the issue, she added.

“There really were no safety reasons for making her go.”

 

Linda Howard was told she’d have to move her truck out of tent city. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

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