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.

Just Posted

Hundreds turn out for Singh, NDP candidate rally in Penticton

The messaging was clear, NDP “chooses you”

Warning issued after several overdoses in Castlegar

Interior Health says the overdoses appear to be the result of cocaine contaminated with fentanyl.

Son Ranch Timber Co. wins provincial award for woodlot management

The Freer family has been operating the business for nearly 30 years

How local candidates are using Facebook to advertise directly to you

Liberal campaign is the biggest spender on Facebook ads in South Okanangan–West Kootenay

South Okanagan-West Kootenay candidates talk climate change and environment at recent forum

Forum on Tuesday grilled candidates about plan to bring about low carbon emission economy

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Most Read