By James Breckenridge. When deputy city manager Jake Rudolph made the statement “I think we are at a stage now that it is going to have to end” about the camp in Jubilee Park you knew that the city, following its SOP [Standard Operating Procedure], would shortly issue 48 hour notice to the homeless in Jubilee Park to move somewhere else [hopefully somewhere far less public?] within the City of Abbotsford.
Under that SOP once the homeless have relocated from Jubilee Park to another location within Abbotsford the city will, at some point, turn up at the new camp and issue 48 hours notice to move.
Once the homeless have relocated elsewhere with Abbotsford the city will turn up at the new camp and issue 48 hours notice to move. Once the homeless have relocated elsewhere with Abbotsford the city will turn up at the new camp and issue 48 hours notice to move. Once the homeless have relocated elsewhere with Abbotsford the city will turn up at the new camp and issue 48 hours notice to move. Once the homeless have relocated elsewhere with Abbotsford the city will turn up at the new camp and issue 48 hours notice to move. Once the homeless have relocated elsewhere with Abbotsford the city will turn up at the new camp and issue 48 hours notice to move.
And so on and so on and …
Until the city once again adds to its growing national and international reputation for uncaring incompetence and commits another amazing Stupid that attracts international press attention. Whereupon the city will go into damage control mode – burying its head in the sand hoping that, this time, the problem will go away.
Did you know that during hundreds of thousands of hours of research no Ostrich has ever been observed to bury its head in the sand when confronted with a problem? It turns out the myth about Ostriches burying their heads is just another example of humans anthropomorphizing.
Why it never occurs to the mayor or council or senior staff that repeating actions that experience demonstrated are pointless is … well, pointless, escapes me.
One would think any rational human being, having found themselves in a hole, would stop digging and adopt actions that have been shown to work in addressing homelessness around the world; such as rezoning Community Services housing first proposal.
But then we are speaking of Abbotsford’s mayor, council and staff.
As I said the city’s telling the homeless they had 48 hours to move elsewhere in Abbotsford is business as usual. Yawn.
Where things should get interesting is the city speaking of getting a court injunction.
Given the embarrassing amount of media coverage the city’s prior actions against the homeless have guaranteed will be present at the end of the 48 hours ‘move or else’, it is no surprise the city would try to turn this into a matter of the courts and the law instead of just another embarrassing example of the mayor, council and staffs intransigent incompetence in dealing with homelessness and other growing social issues.
Those who pay attention to history [it really does help avoid repeating mistakes, avoiding new errors and addressing issues] will recall the BC Court of Appeals ruling in December of 2009 on the appeal of a BC Supreme Court ruling where the Appeals Court held “B.C. homeless win right to camp in parks”. (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-homeless-win-right-to-camp-in-parks-1.804006 )
Pivot legal society, the people working with the homeless in Abbotsford to protect the constantly violated charter rights and freedoms Abbotsford’s homeless have as Canadian citizens, are currently suing Vancouver to assert the right of Vancouver’s homeless to camp in Vancouver city parks.
Vancouver at least can argue it is taking actions to provide housing alternatives.
Well your honour, it is true that in the past year Abbotsford harassed the homeless until they congregated on Gladys Avenue and then used chicken feces as a poor man’s bio-weapon against the homeless. And it is true that council is currently stalling, stumbling and scrambling to find an excuse to refuse $2.5 million [plus hundreds of thousands of yearly dollars for services] from BC Housing, as it continues to claim – even with BC Housing present – that the city cannot afford to do anything about homeless housing crying that the provincial government needs to provide funds.
Pivot legal society has two issues to argue in challenging Abbotsford’s municipal government legal right to force the campers in Jubilee Park to leave the Park.
First: the Charter rights of Canadians to protest government actions – and inactions.
Second: that the ruling by the highest Courts in BC that the homeless, were municipal governments have failed to act on housing the homeless (or as is the case in Abbotsford blocked attempts to provide housing), have the right to camp in municipal parks grants the homeless-in-Abbotsford the right to camp in ANY park in Abbotsford including Jubilee.
Which means that mayor and council, with their zeal for ‘shooting themselves in the foot’, could well gain a pyrrhic victory in clearing the camp out of Jubilee Park.
After all why would the homeless camp in Jubilee Park when they have the Court of Appeals declared right to camp in any park in Abbotsford?
Mill Lake has not only lake front footage but plenty of space, gazebos to provide solid cover in the event of driving rain or snow, washrooms, running water …