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

First time author Stacey Chomiak is releasing Still Stace in October, 2021. (Special to The News)
First time Maple Ridge author illustrates and writes about reconciling her faith and sexuality

Stacey Chomiak is branching out from a successful career in animation

The speculation and vacancy tax declaration must be filled out by the end of March. (The News files)
SVT declaration packages en route to homeowners in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

A penalty will apply to those, not exempted, who don’t pay by due date

COVID-19. (Pixabay)
COVID-19 exposure at Westview in Maple Ridge

Third high school reporting virus in 2021

A vehicle incident is blocking the eastbound lanes on Lougheed Highway at Jim Robson Way in Maple Ridge on Monday, Jan. 18, 2020. (Google)
TRAFFIC: Lougheed Highway cleared in Maple Ridge, expect congestion

Earlier, eastbound lanes at Jim Robson Way were closed

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

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

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Most Read