By Mike Archer. Tensions are rising among the homeless men and women living in the camps along Gladys Avenue across from the Salvation Army according to Barry Shantz, head of the Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors.Last week Shantz reported increased police activity along Gladys and said that, as a result of several interactions between the homeless and Abbotsford Police Department (APD) members, many in the homeless community have the impression that the APD is looking forward to enforcing BC Hydro’s ‘No Trespassing’ eviction notice on July 31.
Shantz told Abbotsford Today Monday that since last week there have been several independent reports of APD officers taunting the homeless in the camps.
“These people are being taunted and made to be fearful over the coming crackdown,” says Shantz. “It’s almost as if the APD is looking forward to this confrontation.”Const. Ian MacDonald of the APD told Today on Monday, “The increased police presence is in response to and increase number of reported incidents and calls for service in the area. Our officers are professional and we enjoy an excellent working relationship with citizens in our community including those currently residing on Gladys Avenue. There are individuals, involved in the drug trade, who are public safety concerns – they have been, and will continue to be, targets for enforcement by our officers.
“BC Hydro is the property owner. They have provided notice to the campers and expressed their desire for them to move. BC Housing, the Salvation Army and 5 and 2 Ministries are working to assist those on the Hydro property. The APD hopes that the campers, given the advance notice, will engage those seeking to provide assistance and find another location before the July 31st deadline.”
Several of the homeless men and women have said they don’t intend to leave their camps opposite the Salvation Army saying they’ve had enough and will no longer be moved from place to place.