Maple Ridge resumes injunction proceedings to clear homeless camp

The City of Maple Ridge is proceeding with an injunction application to remove the homeless camp in the City's Town Centre neighbourhood.

City unanimously decides to move forward with application to remove the camp on St. Anne Avenue

A man walks through the Anita's Place homeless camp, which was established in May, 2017 following the closure of the Rain City shelter. (CBC News)

The City of Maple Ridge is proceeding with an injunction to remove the homeless camp near St. Anne Avenue and 223 Street.

On Tuesday, council voted unanimously to resume seeking an injunction to clear the camp, which was set up on a vacant city lot this spring to protest the closure of the city's only low barrier shelter.

The city says it adjourned its injunction process against the camp in June to give B.C. Housing and health-care resources time to engineer a voluntary decampment, but without any significant progress since then, council now wants the camp removed. 

"The safety of people in the camp, the fire department, police, other first responders and the surrounding neighbourhood has deteriorated," said Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read in a news release.

"We have no choice but to seek an injunction for the camp to come to an end." 

Maple Ridge has said the unauthorized camp is considered to be trespassing and breaching city bylaws. (Valerie Gamache/Radio-Canada)

Just this week, B.C.'s housing minister said the province and the city were close to a solution for the camp and were bringing in considerable resources, including modular housing. 

The city's concerns include fire risks for camp residents and first responders, which they say have been ignored or not adhered to by camp leadership, increased reports of criminal activity, aggressive behaviour by occupants toward police, complaints from neighbours and the continued growth of the camp. 

"The decision to proceed with the injunction was not made lightly. Area residents, businesses and city council have shown great patience but this patience has been exhausted. It is time to act," said Read.

While the city takes action to clear the camp, it is imploring B.C. Housing to address underlying issues, such as poverty, housing, mental health and addiction.

According to the city, legal counsel will be reaching out to local residents and businesses to update victim impact statements for the injunction hearing. 

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