Inside Anita’s Place homeless camp. The modular housing promised for Maple Ridge might not be enough to dismantle Anita’s Place homeless camp.
Francis Georgian / PNG
Ridge Meadows RCMP officers are expected back at a Maple Ridge tent city on Monday after arresting six people Sunday.Mounties were called to the Anita Place homeless camp after a man barricaded himself inside his temporary home — which was the only wooden structure in the settlement — and refused to allow fire inspectors into the building.The fire inspectors were there at the request of the City of Maple Ridge after it won a Supreme Court of B.C. order to “address the long-standing fire and life-safety issues at the St. Anne site identified by both the Maple Ridge Fire Department and, more recently, the Provincial Fire Commissioner.”The Anita Place camp was established off Lougheed Highway at the corner of St. Anne Avenue and 223rd Street in May, 2017.In a prepared statement, the city said that it received the Supreme Court order on Feb. 8, and that on Friday firefighters were sent to the camp to conduct site safety inspections.According to the city, when firefighters arrived they found “the electrical service panel for the camp was exposed to the elements and the electrical connections were tampered with, creating a significant life safety risk.”The city then asked B.C. Hydro to turn off power to the site.
BC Hydro was asked to turn off the power to the site in Maple Ridge due to the tampering of electrical connections.
City of Maple Ridge /
“This has occurred on a number of occasions, and despite numerous warnings, the power supply to the camp continues to be tampered with, creating a risk of electrocution,” the statement read.The fire department also inspected a large propane tank that was being used for a warming tent. Firefighters said the tank had been tampered with and called the tank provider who removed it.On Saturday, firefighters began inspecting tents and structures. Seventy-five propane tanks were located during the inspection as well as portable gasoline containers, solvents, paint, a gas lawn mower, a gas chainsaw, leaf blower and numerous portable barbecue and patio heaters. They were all removed from the site.On Sunday, the RCMP was called when fire inspectors and city bylaw officers were barred by several residents from entering the wooden structure.RCMP just told us “the City wants to move forward on it” and take Dwayne’s cabin with force. It’s a brutal, coercive decision, and we’re ready to meet them with resistance pic.twitter.com/P5sR2xGB0k— Against Displacement (@stopdisplacemnt) February 24, 2019Pivot Legal Society lawyer Caitlin Shane video recorded a tense 90 minutes in which police arrested three female protesters who were outside the door of the wooden structure, then entered the structure and arrested a man called Dwayne who lived there.At one point, police officers ordered people gathered around the scene to step back because police were concerned for Dwayne’s safety.Longtime homeless advocate Ivan Drury — who was involved in the Woodwards Squat in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in 2002 — was among those ordered to move back and verbally sparred with officers.Shane could be heard weeping as she continued to film the scene. Pivot estimates there are 200 people living in tents in the community. In the background of Shane’s video can be seen a soon-to-be completed four-storey condominium development, directly alongside the camp.According to the society’s Twitter page, the RCMP had inappropriately sought an “exclusion zone,” without notifying the residents’ lawyers. They claim this was contrary to the Supreme Court order.The society said that when the person refused to allow fire inspectors in, at least 30 RCMP officers arrived, which escalated the situation.According to an RCMP statement, there have been 82 arrests at the camp since it began. Emergency services have been called to 44 overdoses.“Today, six people were arrested for alleged violation of the injunction and other criminal code offences. Three will be appearing (Monday) in B.C. Supreme Court on alleged violation of the injunction order. Three others will be appearing (Monday) in Provincial Court on various alleged criminal code offences,” the statement read.In response to the Pivot statement, the RCMP said that police have common law powers to create a safe operational exclusion zone to ensure public safety for a short period of time.“This is different from the ‘clean-up and return’ full clearing order that the Supreme Court discussed in the court’s decision,” the police statement read.The city said work would continue on Monday regarding the inspection of tents and structures on the site, debris scattered around the site and the proximity of tents and structures to the fence, and to each other, to bring the site in compliance with the Court Order.The RCMP is expected to have a presence at the site on Monday.
FILE PHOTO: Brett and his dog Charley inside Anita’s Place homeless camp.
Francis Georgian /