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City will head to court on Dec. 16 for protest camp injunction

The city will head to court on Dec. 16 to ask for an injunction for a homeless protest camp in Jubilee Park.  - Alex Butler
The city will head to court on Dec. 16 to ask for an injunction for a homeless protest camp in Jubilee Park.
— image credit: Alex Butler

Representatives from the city will appear in court on Dec. 16 to ask for an injunction to clear the Jubilee Park homeless protest camp.

The encampment received notice from the city to dismantle last week, but many residents did not comply with the order.

The B.C. Supreme Court will hear the city’s application, and could order an injunction based on any time frame, or refuse to grant the city the ability to clear out the park.

The camp was established in late October, organized by members of the Abbotsford chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors. Organizers originally said the protest camp would stay for a few days but Barry Shantz, founder of the Abbotsford chapter of the Drug War Survivors, announced shortly after that the camp would remain.

The city’s notice of claim and application to the court states that the camp is in contravention of many aspects of the city’s parks bylaw, including obstruction of the free use and enjoyment of the park by those not associated with the camp, lighting fires without permission, and constructing shelters and camping in the park.

The notice calls for the park to be vacated, including a permanent injunction for the defendants and all others with knowledge of the order to cease from “entering, occupying and being present in Jubilee Park between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise the following day without prior permission.”

The notice also calls for the order to be applicable to all other lands that fall under the city’s parks bylaw.

The city is also calling for an order authorizing police to arrest and remove any person who the police officer has reasonable grounds to believe is not complying with the order, or obstructing any city employees or agents from removing tents, shelters and other constructions.

The documents include sworn affidavits from city staff, bylaw enforcement and police officers, stating that there have been fires, arrests and fights in the camp.

Affidavits by the city’s director of park services, James Arden, states that the city’s horticulturalist was unable to carry out maintenance work on the trees and bushes in the park as “one of the purported organizers of the Tent Camp ... confronted her and intimidated her so that she was not comfortable carrying out her maintenance.”

Arden’s affidavit states that the city pays for a contractor to remove garbage from Jubilee Park, who has since said he will not attend the camp to do garbage pickup because of the large amount of garbage, including a number of used hypodermic needles and because the “occupants of the Tent Camp harass him and his employees.”

 

Origin of letter from "Abbotsford Downtown Homeless Association" a mystery

Some businesses in downtown Abbotsford last week received a “declaration of war” signed by the “Abbotsford Downtown Homeless Association.”

The letter states that “we, the homeless of Abbotsford declare downtown as our home… We have the right to evict any and all businesses in downtown as we reserve the right as free citizens of Abbotsford to do so.”

The letter comes after the city posted notice last week calling for occupants of a homeless protest camp in Jubilee Park to vacate the area.

Barry Shantz, founder of the Abbotsford chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors and organizer of the homeless protest camp in Jubilee Park, said the letter did not come from his group.

“It’s definitely not us… When we write anything, we proudly display our logo and we proudly stand up and say it in public.”

The letter goes on to say that the group is declaring war and businesses have 30 days to evict their premises.

Tina Stewart, executive director of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association, said the organization is “taking it quite seriously,” but is currently allowing police to deal with the situation.

Const. Ian MacDonald said they are investigating the matter, but at this point are unaware of the letter’s origins.

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