City Of Chilliwack Receives Court Injunction To Remove People Camping In Empress Lane By October 19

Chilliwack – OCTOBER 17 UPDATE – They have to leave. The City of Chilliwack went to BC Supreme Court and was granted the injunction and everything/everyone from the Empress Lane camp must be removed by Noon on October 19.

The Judge who issued the order believes the campers will leave voluntarily , so for now it appears that no one (RCMP, Griffin Security) will physically move anyone if they have to. 26 of the 50+ campers were actually named in court documents. Sto:lo Nation will discuss the possibility of allowing the campers to move to their land. That meeting is set for October 18. Justice Gary Weatherill granted the injunction but not an enforcement order.

THIS IS THE MEDIA RELEASE FROM THE CITY:

On October 12, 2016, the City of Chilliwack resumed the application to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Chilliwack for an interlocutory injunction to remove people camping in the Empress Lane parking lot. The court ruled in favour of the City, stating that all structures must be removed by noon on October 19, 2016. The City’s updated Parks Bylaw made it possible to seek this injunction and the availability of new minimum barrier beds at the Salvation Army was also referenced by the court.

The Salvation Army initially planned to open 30 minimum barrier beds on November 1, 2016, thanks to funding from the Province. With an immediate need for shelter beds due to the homeless encampment, Chilliwack Mayor and Council reached out to MLA Laurie Throness and MLA Rich Coleman, the Minister Responsible for Housing, to see if interim funding was available to open the 30 beds immediately. Both the Province and the Salvation Army have worked quickly to respond to this need in our community.

In a letter to Mayor and Council from Tim Bohr, Community Ministries Director, with the Chilliwack Salvation Army, he confirmed that the 30 bed temporary emergency shelter will be able to open by Friday, October 14, and will utilize their soup kitchen area.

“We are pleased that the Salvation Army, in cooperation with BC Housing, is able to quickly open beds to provide a safer option for the individuals living in the homeless camp in the Princess Lane parking lot,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “We would also like to thank MLA Laurie Throness and Minister Rich Coleman for responding so quickly to this urgent need in Chilliwack.”

During the hearing, the judge asked for specific examples of parks where homeless people could erect overnight temporary shelters and the City’s legal counsel provided some examples based on the bylaw restrictions. This does not imply that the City recommended park space as a viable solution to homelessness, nor is the City directing homeless people to a specific public park.

“Our parks are not designed for overnight camping and are not a long term solution to homelessness in our community,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “It is our hope that all individuals in Chilliwack will have an opportunity to be housed. We will continue to advocate senior levels of government for funding and housing solutions to better meet the growing issue of homelessness in our community and across BC.”

On June 7, 2016, City Council adopted a Chilliwack Homelessness Action Plan to address homelessness and the need for increased affordable housing in Chilliwack. This plan was developed collaboratively with health, social services, housing, and public safety service providers, and outlines clear goals, effective strategies, and specific actions to address homelessness, and the various needs for affordable housing in Chilliwack.  

After the BC Supreme Court ruled that municipalities cannot impose blanket prohibitions on homeless individuals setting up temporary structures in public parks, the City of Chilliwack updated the Parks Bylaw in order to manage that usage. Through the updated bylaw, the City strives to accommodate both the Charter rights of homeless people and the rights of residents to use public parks for recreation purposes. The City was able to seek the present court injunction in part to implement and enforce the guidelines outlined in the bylaw.

UPDATE OCTOBER 7 – As the Empress tent city grows, so does the mess, the garbage, the noise and the roar of the complaints from neighbours, businesses and the general public. To the extent that certain “vigilantes” have taken it upon themselves to approach the campers to vent their displeasure over their encampment.

After plenty of threats of violence and Griffin Security plus RCMP attending various skirmishes, the campers have won a reprieve from a forced movement. It wont happen before the Thanksgiving holiday.

What is apparent is that many of the campers at Empress, unlike the “Allowed” campsites in public parks, have no intention of moving. This comes from a variety of reason including not wanting t constantly set up and take down every day (as per requirements of public parks) nor do they want to stay in “Barrier” facilities like the Salvation Army, Ruth & Naomi’s and Cyrus Centre (Barrier accommodations means no booze or drugs and shopping carts full of personal belongings are not secure).

This is the update from the city:

On October 7, 2016, the City of Chilliwack applied to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Chilliwack for an injunction to remove people camping in Empress Lane.

The matter has been adjourned until Wednesday, October 12, 2016.

City Bylaw staff have been dealing with a growing number of homeless persons who have chosen to set up tents, tarps and other shelters within the area known as the Empress Lane Parking Lot. This parking lot is in the downtown core bounded by Young Road, Princess Avenue, Yale Road and Nowell Street.

In September, the City of Chilliwack issued notice to the persons camping on properties around Empress Lane that they were in contravention of the City’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Bylaw 2006, No. 3290. As the individuals refused to remove their property, the City of Chilliwack determined that pursuing legal action through a court injunction was the best approach to take to clear the property.

On June 7, 2016, City Council adopted a Chilliwack Homelessness Action Plan to address homelessness and the need for increased affordable housing in Chilliwack. This plan was developed collaboratively with health, social services, housing, and public safety service providers, and outlines clear goals, effective strategies, and specific actions to address homelessness, and the various needs for affordable housing in Chilliwack.  

After the BC Supreme Court ruled that municipalities cannot impose blanket prohibitions on homeless individuals setting up temporary structures in public parks, the City of Chilliwack updated the Parks Bylaw in order to manage that usage. Through the updated bylaw, the City strives to accommodate both the Charter rights of homeless people and the rights of residents to use public parks for recreation purposes. The City is seeking the present court injunction in part to implement and enforce the guidelines outlined in the bylaw.

ORIGINAL STORY – OCTOBER 6 – On October 7, 2016, the City of Chilliwack will apply to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Chilliwack for an injunction to remove people camping in Empress Lane.

City Bylaw staff have been dealing with a growing number of homeless persons who have chosen to set up tents, tarps and other shelters within the area known as the Empress Lane Parking Lot. This parking lot is in the downtown core bounded by Young Road, Princess Avenue, Yale Road and Nowell Street.

In September, the City of Chilliwack issued notice to the persons camping on properties around Empress Lane that they were in contravention of the City’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Bylaw 2006, No. 3290. As the individuals refused to remove their property, the City of Chilliwack determined that pursuing legal action through a court injunction was the best approach to take to clear the property.

On June 7, 2016, City Council adopted a Chilliwack Homelessness Action Plan to address homelessness and the need for increased affordable housing in Chilliwack. This plan was developed collaboratively with health, social services, housing, and public safety service providers, and outlines clear goals, effective strategies, and specific actions to address homelessness, and the various needs for affordable housing in Chilliwack.

After the BC Supreme Court ruled that municipalities cannot impose blanket prohibitions on homeless individuals setting up temporary structures in public parks, the City of Chilliwack updated the Parks Bylaw in order to manage that usage. Through the updated bylaw, the City strives to accommodate both the Charter rights of homeless people and the rights of residents to use public parks for recreation purposes. The City is seeking the present court injunction in part to implement and enforce the guidelines outlined in the bylaw.

Be the first to comment on "City Of Chilliwack Receives Court Injunction To Remove People Camping In Empress Lane By October 19"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.