Conference held at Anita Place Tent City on the first day of winter. (THE NEWS/files)

Conference held at Anita Place Tent City on the first day of winter. (THE NEWS/files)

Rearview: Maple Ridge’s tent city still around, unresolved

City goes back to Supreme Court

The City of Maple Ridge and Anita Place Tent City activists seem destined to be heading to court early in the new year to resume the battle over the future of the camp, located on 223rd Street in the city’s downtown.

The city announced on Dec. 11, that it was returning to B.C. Supreme Court for an order to enforce fire safety regulations. It also wants a court order that will allow it to “better identify” people at the camp, so it knows how many need housing.

But only 10 days later, on what it noted was the first day of winter, Pivot Legal Society responded, saying that a court order would “criminalize” residents’ efforts to survive.

“The city’s position with respect to Anita Place appears to be to make conditions as intolerable as possible in the hopes that residents will simply disappear,” Pivot Legal said in a release.

It also claimed that the order would allow city employees to seize all warming devices “without offering any meaningful assistance in return” and also will allow police to arrest anyone who resists.

Maple Ridge in November 2017 obtained a court order spelling out safety terms but says that occupants haven’t upheld those conditions.

The Alliance Against Displacement also responded the same day, saying that the court action “is a clear attempt to dismantle the tent city, using fire safety compliance as a legal weapon to tear down their homes …”

Pivot legal society lawyer Anna Cooper said at the Dec. 21 new conference, that tent city residents have repeatedly asked for the city or firefighters’ help in addressing fire safety issues. “Help us find a solution. If you don’t think the heaters people are using are safe, what can they use?”

The fire department has said previously that it’s not its role to tell people what materials to use.

Dave Diewert, with the Alliance Against Displacement, added that people need social housing that is dignified and affordable and resident run, but in the meantime, it’s important to sustain it and not to be criminalized. “I think the sentiments of the camp are, that we are here to stay and we are here to fight.”

The Alliance claims that the city’s desire to enforce fire safety rules simply will result in the closure of the camp, as happened outside Victoria and in Nanaimo.

Over the past year, the fire department has made regular inspections of the camp, with mixed results.

Despite the opening of the 53 new modular housing units on Royal Crescent that allowed 25 residents of tent city to leave tent city, there remains the ongoing question about the actual number of people living in tent city. There have also been five fires at the location, the most recent one in early December.

B.C. Housing said it wants to continue to provide more housing, to allow the camp to be emptied.

The latest manoeuvrings follow the election of a new mayor and council for Maple Ridge in October.

Shortly after being elected Oct. 20, Mayor Mike Morden said that he wants to work with senior governments to ensure people get the help they need to allow the closing of Anita Place Tent City.

“To close tent city needs to be done with respect.”

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

Just Posted

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Maple Ridge resident impressed with frontline workers when husband hurt

From police to health professionals, everyone who cared for injured senior deserves praise

Residents of Golf Lane say they are tired of their houses and vehicles being hit by golf balls from the nearby Maple Ridge Golf Course, and worry someone is going to get killed by a wayward drive. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Maple Ridge Golf Course neighbours say they need protection

City willing to explore solutions says director of parks

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Ineke Boekhorst with the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association says Sparkle has been a huge hit with downtown businesses. (The News files)
Maple Ridge business to get free Earth Day window cleaning

Event put on by the Downtown Maple Ridge BIA and Christian Life Assembly

Allen, Mel, and Trevor Leung pose on the Whitecaps field in Vancouver. (Special to The News)
Community rallies to support Maple Ridge man suffering from paralysis, kidney issues

GoFundMe set up to help Allen Leung and his family during difficult times

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

The female driver of this Jeep Grand Cherokee (right) was driving erratically with a young child inside on Highway 1 eastbound. After hitting a barrier and a parked car, she finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Most Read