Province Jumps In With Both Feet
According to sources on the street, residents should brace themselves for the Abbotsford Shuffle to start up again. This time it is BC Hydro which wants to move Abbotsford’s homeless off its property along Gladys Avenue with some reports suggesting they want them off by Thursday. Another report has the ‘Shuffle’ occurring on July 31 – a date some say has been in the works for months.
The homeless protest camp known as ‘MCC Dignity Village’ at the TeePee on Gladys Avenue and the other camps up near the Salvation Army Chicken Manure Site now appear to be offending the Province of BC in some manner.
BC Hydro officials posted the ‘NO TRESPASSING’ signs by the homeless camps Monday.
It is not known, what legal body – Bylaw Department, APD, RCMP, Armed Forces – will be used to enforce Hydro’s action nor under what authority they will be acting. The APD has taken on the role of enforcing everything from city bylaws, provincial traffic laws, parking bylaws and camping rules whenever homeless people are involved or, when the downtown area is involved
We have not been able confirm anything with BC Hydro as of Monday evening. Nobody knows what they want to do with the property.
*We received word late tonight that the protest camp has been specifically excluded from the order.
The last eviction notice against the protesters came from the City of Abbotsford and was issued just days after the protesters were evicted from their camp in Jubilee Park before Christmas. That eviction notice has been up since January but has never been acted upon. A longstanding court case between the City and Pivot Legal Society on behalf of the Abbotsford Drug War Survivors is dragging on as the City fights to defend its Anti-Homeless Bylaws.
The TeePee and many of the large encampment of tents surrounding it sit on BC Hydro property and while the City has usually been the one to flex its muscle by moving people around town 50 yards at a time, BC Hydro, which is run by the same minister who runs BC Housing (MLA Rich Coleman) is the one flexing its muscles this time.
At a meeting earlier this spring between Hydro and City officials Hydro let it be known they wanted the homeless of their property. At the time representatives of The 5 and 2 Ministries, the Salvation Army and City staff tried to talk them out of it.
As recently as two weeks ago MLA Darryl Plecas said he had intervened and managed to buy some time.
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Editor’s Note: Our initial report stated that BC Hydro Officials had spoken to an Abbotsford Dignitarian Society committee meeting about the evictions Monday morning but further checking has made it clear that did not occur. Abbotsford Today apologizes for the error.