Residents of a controversial tent city in Maple Ridge have earned a temporary reprieve as the city presses “pause” on a pending injunction.
The city had served the camp, known as ‘Anita’s Place,’ with a notice of injunction at the end of May, and was due back in court for a two-day hearing on Wednesday and Thursday.
But it now says that hearing has been adjourned after campers agreed to “stabilize the situation in the camp,” and work towards voluntarily moving out.
The city has also agreed to monitor the condition of the camp and surrounding neighbourhood, while lobbying the province for more social housing.
“The injunction application has not been cancelled, Council has taken the opportunity to hit the ‘pause’ button based on information that was presented by the defence as part of their June 16 filing,” said Mayor Nicole Read in a statement.
The city added that it is in discussions with BC Housing to look at ways to deal with short-term health issues in the camp.
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“The City is seeking the best outcome from a no-win situation. The best scenario is that the camp occupants are able to connect with housing and health care services,” said Read’s statement.
The campsite has drawn criticism from many in Maple Ridge, sparking backlash on social media and heated exchanges in the street.
It has also prompted allegations from some homeless campers that they were being threatened, along with concerns at city hall after alleged threats against Mayor Read resulted in a police investigation.
Pressure has been building on the homeless issue in Maple Ridge for several years now, with campers forced out of another tent city on Cliff Avenue in 2015, and subsequent heated public meetings over the establishment of a temporary shelter.
A pair of locations to provide supportive housing for the homeless, one in a former Quality Inn, were both proposed by BC Housing but axed by the province last year after public opposition.
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