Dec 12, 2013 7:00 am -By Mike Archer. It looks like a bunker. Abbotsford residents woke up this morning to a new reality in the standoff in Jubilee Park as they discovered an enormous, 8-ft high sloped wooden wall built around the outside of the parking lot beside Jubilee Park.
Last night a group of more than 20 volunteers erected the prefabricated walled structure to protect the roughly 25 members of Abbotsford Drug War Survivors living in the park, from the winds and freezing temperatures which have gripped the Lower Mainland.
The massive structure, which was put together pieces by pre-assembled piece in the early hours of the morning, is made of donated wood which is intended to be used by the DWS when the proposal they have before the City for their own ‘Dignity Village’ style self-sustaining shelter is eventually approved.
The City has not spoken publicly about the proposal despite senior officials having met with the proponents and described the idea as “refreshing and positive” behind closed doors.
The City of Abbotsford and the Drug War Survivors, represented by Pivot Legal Society, are scheduled to meet in the New Westminster courthouse Monday to fight over an injunction the City is seeking to have the protesters removed from the park and kept from occupying any other municipal park property in Abbotsford.
That injunction would now appear to be moot.
Dec 11, 2013, 11:00 pm –
Day 53 of Standoff in Jubilee Park – 13 Days ‘Til Christmas
Release. The Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors (DWS), tonight moved from the temporary tent village they had built in Jubilee Park to the parking lot beside the park.
Between 25 and 40 members of the organization have been engaged in a protest against the City of Abbotsford and the Abbotsford Police Department since October 20.
The City of Abbotsford has applied for an injunction seeking permission to forcibly remove the men and women from the small portion of Jubilee Park they have been occupying. The hearing into that injunction proceeds Monday morning in the New Westminster courthouse.
Pivot Legal Society will be fighting the injunction on behalf of the DWS members on the basis that the City of Abbotsford and the Abbotsford Police Department have created an unsafe environment in their city for the homeless, particularly those with mental illness, drug or alcohol problems.
Several members of DWS have stated that the first time they have felt safe in months, in some cases years, has been during their stay at the Jubilee Park Village.
With lumber donated by citizens concerned for their safety and well-being, members of DWS are planning to erect an 8-ft wall of lumber to protect them against the elements.
With the sub zero temperatures, which have descended on the Fraser Valley in recent days, the residents of the camp are concerned their tents and belongings may blow away.
The City of Abbotsford has been considering several proposals to house the homeless who do not qualify for the high barrier shelters the city provides for homeless people who don’t use alcohol or drugs.
Several members of the DWS are engaged in civil law suits and human rights complaints against the City and the APD over the City’s anti-harm reduction bylaw, the use of pepper spray, as well as destruction and theft of property by the police and the use of chicken feces against their members by the City – a move which had the prior approval of the Salvation Army.
Says organizer and founder of the Abbotsford DWS, Barry Shantz, “We have a mayor who stated publicly that drug use is against the law and equated drug users with pedophiles. The City has constructive proposals on the table to end this situation and won’t discuss them in public. Instead they prefer to use force to chase us away.”
Cover Photo by Bas Stevens