Tent camp organizer Ivan Drury demands housing from NDP leader John Horgan during his campaign stop in Maple Ridge, May 2017. (Maple Ridge News)

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

Orchestrated ‘tent city’ protest camps demanding transition housing have plagued Abbotsford, Victoria, Nanaimo, Vernon and other B.C. communities, none more bitterly opposed than the “Anita Place” camp in Maple Ridge.

The camp was finally dismantled this month after explosions, fires, citizen protests and legal action by the city carried on for more than two years. Its organizer, Ivan Drury, also backed a long-running camp beside the Victoria courthouse, and squats in Vancouver and Burnaby.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities executive has backed a resolution from Maple Ridge council, calling on the province to respect municipal authority for land use, after the province overruled the city and imposed social housing facilities in an effort to get rid of the camp.

The resolution will be debated at next week’s UBCM convention in Vancouver. It states “B.C. has shown a willingness to overrule municipal land use regulations, dispense with public consultation functions mandated by the Local Government Act, and forego collaboration with local government.”

RELATED: Maple Ridge tent camp closes, work starts on park

RELATED: Teen arrested after stabbing at Nanaimo tent camp

The resolution prompted pre-convention discussions between UBCM officials and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson, who described the use of provincial veto power to impose interim modular housing at two Maple Ridge sites a last resort.

“Minister Robinson subsequently provided assurance that the use of paramountcy … in Maple Ridge was a special case, designed to provide a temporary solution to the urgent situation created by the city’s evacuation of the tent city, while discussions about a longer-term solution continued with the local government,” the UBCM executive says in a note accompanying the resolution.

The Provincial Fire Commissioner issued an evacuation order for “Anita Place” in late February after a series of fires, some accelerated by exploding propane tanks amid the assembly of shacks and tents that had accumulated at the site. The city then obtained a court order restricting access to verified residents, and the camp was finally closed and cleaned up last week.

Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden, who won election last year with a harder line against tent campers, said the city has done more than its “regional per capita share” in housing homeless people.

The NDP government established a program in 2017 to set up 2,000 units of modular housing, giving priority to communities with persistent tent camps.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

WATCH: Fire department’s open house the hottest event of the weekend

Fire Prevention Week comes to a close with family fun, and some big numbers for charity

Police still looking for more info on missing mushroom picker in Nass Valley

65-year-old Greg Agnew was reported missing on Sept. 30

WEB POLL: What do you hope to see in the old Dairy Queen building?

With repairs underway, what would you like to see in Prince Rupert’s renovated space?

Giving Thanks

Conrad students celebrate the holiday with a special meal

Last house standing from Third Ave. fire demolished

Leftover debris has also been cleared from the site

WATCH: From Prince Rupert and Port Edward politicians to business owners, why #newspapersmatter to them

Local athletes, teachers and politicians help The Northern View wrap-up #NationalNewspaperWeek

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

WEB POLL: Do you think Election Day should be a federal holiday?

More than half of Canadians want Election Day to be a federal holiday; what does Prince Rupert think

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

Police still looking for more info on missing mushroom picker in Nass Valley

65-year-old Greg Agnew was reported missing on Sept. 30

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

Most Read