Mayor says camp residents, Maple Ridge want the same thing

Questions why protest under way

There are still no porta-potties at the Anita Place Tent City, so occupants have to use a make-shift latrine that’s been dug on to the site.

“They left us with no option,” said Ivan Drury, organizer of the camp in downtown Maple Ridge.

He said the company that brought in the three porta-potties last week was told to remove them, or risk having them seized by the city.

But when camp organizers tried to call the city to inquire about permits to allow them to be on the site, the city wouldn’t take their calls.

Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read, en route Monday from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Ottawa, said she’ll contact city staff to see if allowing porta-potties on the site would jeopardize the city’s efforts to get an injunction to clear the camp.

“I’d really have to understand how that impacts the injunction before I comment. We’re moving to have that camp removed from that site. It’s supposed to be moving forward for a neighbourhood park,” Read said.

B.C. Supreme Court, on Monday, granted Pivot Legal Society lawyers two weeks to prepare a defence against an injunction sought by the city to allow it to clear the camp.

Read was absent from council in May when it was decided to seek an injunction.

She admitted the city is taking a different approach from that of the Cliff Avenue tent camp in 2015, which dispersed voluntarily, but which took place on a street instead of a city-owned lot.

She wonders about the motivation for setting up the camp.

“I just don’t know who Drury’s fighting,” Read said.

Read pointed out that two NDP candidates have been elected in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows and that if a NDP-Green government is formed, “everything I’m hearing is that we’re going to sit down at the table and come up with a positive solution for this.”

The city and the NDP are both committed to providing housing, she said.

“The protest angle, I don’t know what it’s for,” she added.

“I think we’re in a positive place.

“This is a camp formed by Ivan Drury. I just don’t understand. We’re all fighting for the same thing and now we’re not working together. It makes no sense.”

She hopes that a location for a new shelter and supportive housing complex can be found quickly, with the city working with the MLAs.

Drury said that modular housing, or housing in mobile homes, can be put up in a week, until a permanent supportive housing complex is built.

“That’s the solution we’re looking for, not just warehousing.”

Maple Ridge News