The occupants of a homelessness protest camp slowly and quietly took down their shelters and gathered their belongings on Saturday as they vacated Jubilee Park in compliance with a court order issued Friday.
A host of community and social services were on the scene, including the Salvation Army, 5 and 2 Ministries, Fraser Health and others, as well as City of Abbotsford workers, helping the homeless pack up their items and tents, and offering shelter options and other assistance services, while police officers stood nearby in a low-profile monitoring role.
The City of Abbotsford apparently provided large plastic tubs for the homeless residents to place some of their belongings, which were to be stored in a secure place until they had found other accommodation.
There was no confrontation between the camp’s occupants and any of the authorities and services on the scene, according to several official sources.
Ward Draper, spokesperson for 5 snd 2 Ministries, a faith-based advocacy group for the homeless, said several of the camp residents had accepted shelter assistance, while some were going to do the “Abbotsford shuffle,” moving to another site somewhere in the city. He estimated 12 to 15 people were remaining in the camp as of Saturday morning, down from between 20 to 30 some weeks ago.
On Friday morning, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted the City of Abbotsford an injunction, directing the occupants of the protest camp to clear the Jubilee Park site, where they’ve been since October, by Saturday at 4 p.m.
A wooden-walled enclosure that was constructed overnight two weeks ago, was ordered to be dismantled by Monday afternoon.
Watch abbynews.com for updates.