City issues notice to dismantle camp in Jubilee Park

Cites safety reasons, including fire safety violations and criminal activity

  • Nov. 25, 2013 7:00 a.m.

The city has posted a notice calling for members of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors to dismantle the protest camp set up in Jubilee Park.

The city issued an eviction notice Monday to a protest camp established at Jubilee Park, asking for tents and belongings to be removed.

Deputy city manager Jake Rudolph spoke to the media Monday, saying 48 hours’ notice had been given to remove the tents and structures for safety reasons.

The protest started in late October, when members of the Abbotsford chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors gathered to raise awareness about the needs of the city’s most marginalized residents.

The group initially planned to stay only a few days, but protest organizer Barry Shantz soon announced the peaceful protest was extended until there was a housing solution for homeless people.

Rudolph said the city has “no intentions of disrupting anyone’s right to protest,” but added that police, bylaw officers and fire services staff have noted several safety violations.

If protesters do not vacate, City of Abbotsford lawyers will apply to the B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday and seek an expedited injunction application to remove the camp.

“I personally spoke with protest organizer, Barry Shantz, last week and relayed this message to him, and the people at the site were also informed in person by staff conducting the safety checks,” said Rudolph.

Shantz said the protesters are taking advice from their lawyers, but are ready to face the injunction.

“We knew (the city was) going to come this way. We’re already preparing for the injunction and we’re happy to go to court with them and deal with this.”

Abbotsford police and fire service members have been conducting regular safety checks at the site.

Rudolph said they have found “numerous documented occurrences” of fire safety violations – including the use of propane barbecues within the tents as heat sources – as well as criminal activity, open drug use, and concerns raised by the recent arrival of sub-zero temperatures.

Fire chief Don Beer noted several fire safety issues, such as household appliances – a coffeemaker and a microwave – being run from an electrical box in the park on which the lock had been broken.

Shantz said many of the safety concerns are legitimate, “but since (the homeless have) been in the park, I’d say they’re a lot safer than they were before.”

Rudolph said the city is aware that dismantling the camp will not solve issues of homelessness and they are trying to connect homeless in the park with social agencies and service providers.

In May, the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors filed a civil suit against the City of Abbotsford over the city’s bylaw against harm reduction practices, stating  the municipality overstepped its authority by prohibiting certain health services. The group also filed a human rights complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

Though the eviction notice has been issued, Shantz said the group’s protest against the city isn’t over.

“They just want this problem to go away, and it’s not going away easy.”

Just Posted

Neil Diamond tribute comes to Fort Langley

Bobby Bruce bring his Nearly Neil show to the Chief Sepass Theatre.

VIDEO: Decision in Langley condo case shows consumer law needs changing, buyers say

Reaction to appeal court decision that forces buyers to pay more than originally agreed

Classical musician from Langley explains life in 35 pieces

Well-respected musician and Langley Community Music School teacher launches a book this Friday.

Langley-based Stealth sold, moving to Vancouver

National Lacrosse League announces sale to Canucks Sports and Entertainment

UPDATE: Minor injuries in rollover crash that closed Sea-to-Sky

Hwy. 99 not expected to re-open until 2:30 p.m.

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Murdered BC woman’s final words, ‘I love you, Mom’

It took 10 years, but Lisa Dudley’s mother finally found out what her daughter said before she passed

Quarter of seafood sold in Metro Vancouver is mislabelled: researchers

Intentional mislabelling can mask concerns about sustainability or human rights

Completion date for Alex Fraser Bridge improvements pushed to 2019

New traffic lights at Nordel Way and Highway 91 mark the end of phase one of the project

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Remains of two people found on Vancouver Island

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to two missing men, last seen in Ucluelet in mid-May

Helping B.C.’s helpers cope

The MRT has helped almost 7,000 first responders and street workers in 57 communities in B.C.

Most Read