Court backlog delays application to move homeless camp

Fraser Health says property is private, but representative for camper suggests land is effectively abandoned

A homeless camp has been established along the edge of Fraser Health's McCallum Road property for more than a month.

Fraser Health’s quest to receive a temporary injunction that would force homeless campers to move from the edge of its McCallum Road property was again thwarted by a backlog of cases at Supreme Court in Vancouver Thursday.

The health authority has applied for an order to force the removal of a camp on the old MSA hospital grounds. But with a hearing expected to take as long as three hours, the court has been unable to find sufficient time to hear the submissions of both Fraser Health and Tim Felger, who is representing the homeless on site.

Felger and Fraser Health lawyer James Goulden briefly spoke to a judge Thursday near noon and explained the basics of the case. But by that time, it seemed unlikely that the judge – who had commitments the following day – would be able to hear all submissions and deliver his decision that day.

The case was referred back to a scheduler to seek another time at which a judge will be able to hear the case.

A week earlier, the parties had come to court hoping to have the case heard, but were sent packing after the available judge ran out of time.

On Thursday, Goulden told the judge that Fraser Health will say that the land in question is private property and cannot be used without permission.

Felger, meanwhile, argued the land was semi-public and, given its vacant status for years, effectively abandoned by Fraser Health.

The camp was established outside of a fence that rings the property, but the health authority later learned that the property line is, in fact, actually closer to McCallum Road. That means the camp, which is squeezed between the fence and roadside trees, is on Fraser Health property.

The health authority has plans to build a community health centre on the land, but that project has been delayed several times. Earlier this year, The News reported that a request for proposals to develop the site had been withdrawn and gone back to the planning stages.

 

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