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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police recover body of Tofino man in his 50s

An RCMP dive team has recovered the body of a Tofino man in his 50s.

Winter hits Tofino and Ucluelet with snow and power outages

Ucluelet’s new public works foreman tackles town’s first snowfall first day on the job.

UPDATED: Itska back in owner’s arms after Oak Bay man returns dog taken from Tofino

Shannon Boothman expects to be reunited with Itska on Sunday

Tofino and Ucluelet’s Top 10 sports and arts stories of 2019

Revisiting the Coast’s best sports and arts newsmakers of the past year.

VIDEO: Bobcat infiltrates Shuswap couple’s coop, feasts on fowl

Police officers credited for attempting to assist with animal’s extraction

Prince Harry reunites with Meghan and Archie in Victoria

Buckingham Palace said Tuesday it would not comment on private matters

Skier dies at Fernie Alpine Resort

It’s the second person to die in a tree well at a ski resort in B.C. in the past week.

Put away the shovels, week of rain ahead for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada calling for wet weather until Sunday

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

VIDEO: B.C. mom shares ‘insane’ experience of viral dinosaur video

Tabitha Cooper filmed her costumed sons meeting their grandma at the Victoria International Airport

Vancouver Island home to one of Canada’s largest private skateboard collections

Eric Pinto owns hundreds of boards, spanning multiple decades

Most Read