The province is looking to the courts for an injunction against a group of Maple Ridge residents who have been camping out on the site of a future modular housing project set to house dozens of homeless residents at a nearby tent city.
A group of protesters who oppose the project announced by BC Housing earlier this year set up camp on the government-owned property last week.
In a news release Tuesday, the B.C. government said the injunction application comes after protesters ignored trespass notices and remained at the space Monday, holding a community barbecue with hot dogs and hamburgers.
“This protest threatens to delay homes for vulnerable people with an urgent need for housing and support to stabilize and move on,” Selina Robinson, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said in a release.
“We have to get moving on site preparation and construction, to ensure we can move people indoors before next winter.”
The 55-unit project will be temporarily housing residents of the Anita Place tent city encampment that was set up in Maple Ridge in 2017.
— Tom Fletcher (@tomfletcherbc) May 15, 2018
Robinson told Black Press Media Tuesday that the concerns she’s heard are around the consultation process.
“We’ve had consultation and we’ll continue to have consultation around how to move forward with permanent use of that site,” she added.
“In this particular community, we have explored numerous locations, and we have this opportunity now to put in some temporary modular housing. We have just a few months to get this up and running, so people don’t have to spend yet another winter out in the open.”
B.C. Housing has hosted three public information sessions since January, two focused on the approved site, located on Royal Crescent. It presented to city council on multiple occasions on the growing issue of homelessness in Maple Ridge and potential solutions, said the government in the release.
|Tracy Scott, left, and Jasmine Daly stand on a footbridge over a water trench that residents have built to redirect water at Anita Place Tent City. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)|
Over 1,400 community members attended the information sessions, where they had the opportunity to view proposed housing plans, and speak with representatives from B.C. Housing, Fraser Health and the local intensive case management team.
“In many communities there has been tremendous support to bring this housing online,” Robinson said. “It comes with services to help people rebuild their lives, to make sure they can stabilize. Where we do see this issue, we work with the community, but at this juncture we have done the consultation. We need to get moving.”
The province and B.C. Housing said it will consult further with the City of Maple Ridge and residents regarding permanent use of the site, said the release.