News / Vancouver

Maple Ridge backs down from court action to remove tent city

After reviewing dozens of affidavits from homeless campers, Maple Ridge says it will focus on housing solution rather than court case.

A homeless camp in Maple Ridge.

Jennifer Gauthier/For Metro

A homeless camp in Maple Ridge.

The City of Maple Ridge has decided to back down from legal action against homeless campers in favour of focusing on working with the province on a permanent “housing and health care strategy.”

The city had applied for a court injunction to remove the tent city, known as Anita’s Place, which has operated since May 2. But Maple Ridge has now asked for the injunction hearing to be adjourned until June 28 so it can review a large number of affidavits from residents of the camp.

“The affidavits really captured the stories of homelessness, they exposed the ugly face of what homelessness is,” said Ivan Drury, an activist who has been supporting Anita’s Place.

 “It has that visceral component of the danger from bigots in Maple Ridge and all of the components of being exposed to the weather and having no security and the compounded health factors.”

Pivot Legal and two other lawyers working pro bono assisted the residents to prepare their legal material. DJ Larkin, a lawyer with Pivot, previously told Metro that homeless people in Maple Ridge “have received threats, have faced violence, have had things thrown at them.”

While the city had put together a plan for two low-barrier homeless shelters, it was later dropped by two B.C. Liberal MLAs after strong opposition from Maple Ridge residents.

The city’s only low-barrier shelter closed in mid-May after its provincial funding ended, and some people who had been living in that shelter moved to the tent city, saying it was their only remaining option.

The City of Maple Ridge says it will now provide toilets to the camp, while working with the province and Fraser Health on housing and health care “that will make the camp unnecessary.” 

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