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.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

Four activists face charges linked to 2019 Abbotsford hog-farm protest

Mischief and break-and-enter charges laid for incidents on four separate days prior to the protest

Three men face attempted murder charges after Harrison Hot Springs stabbing

Man, 24, sent to hospital with life-threatening injuries following attack Wednesday

‘Tiny home’ being built for Abbotsford woman with severe allergies

Online campaign raises $59,000 for custom cargo trailer for Katie Hobson

Chilliwack children can get tested locally, Fraser Health confirms

Erroneous information online and via 811 has many families driving to Abbotsford for testing

Face masks will be mandatory for customers at all Walmart locations

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Canucks blank Wild 3-0, take series lead in penalty-filled NHL qualifying clash

Jacob Markstrom stops 27 shots to lead Vancouver past Minnesota

North Okanagan man chains himself to tree in protest of construction

Crews began work clearing space for a new facility Thursday, Aug. 6

Most Read