Gladys tent city staying put for now: Mayor

Abbotsford council still deciding how to respond to B.C. Supreme Court ruling

Abbotsford is not yet taking any action toward the Gladys Avenue tent city

Abbotsford is not yet taking any action toward the Gladys Avenue tent city

The homeless protest camp on Gladys Avenue won’t be moving any time soon.

Although an Oct. 21 B.C. Supreme Court court decision ruled against permanent encampments on public land, Abbotsford is still determining what to do about the Gladys camp that’s been there since 2013. The city is still crafting a plan and they haven’t ruled out the possibility of appealing the court ruling.

“We’re not quite there yet,” said Mayor Henry Braun. “We have the decision, but we haven’t come to the place yet where we’ve decided ‘will we appeal, or won’t we appeal?’ So, I’m pretty sure we don’t want to reveal anything about that lawsuit until we come to that place.”

The deadline for filing an appeal is Nov. 20.

The decision struck down part of an Abbotsford bylaw banning overnight shelters in parks, but it lets the city continue to ban permanent camps, citing safety concerns.

The Gladys camp has been the site of multiple fires, and the decision also notes the danger of discarded drug paraphernalia and sanitation issues in the area.

Braun said he hopes the city will have a strategy to announce within a few weeks.

“There’s a lot of moving parts,” he said. “We are in the process of discussing that, next steps, strategy, protocols, and how we move forward.”

DJ Larkin of Pivot Legal Society, the law firm representing the group of homeless people who filed the lawsuit against the City of Abbotsford, said her clients were also uncertain about whether to appeal.

“Pivot Legal Society is working with our clients to get instructions on next steps,” said Larkin.