Hail and rain deluged Anita Place Tent City on Friday. (THE NEWS/files)

Hail and rain deluged Anita Place Tent City on Friday. (THE NEWS/files)

B.C. tent city ‘devastated’ after flash flood

Maple Ridge mayor says that residents shouldn’t have to return to their flooded tents

People are making their way back to Anita Place Tent City after Friday’s flash flood tore through the camp, ripping down tarps and inundating tents.

But they shouldn’t have to return to tent city, says Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read.

“Those people shouldn’t be back in the camp,” Read said on Monday.

“The camp needs to go, that’s the end of the story at this point.”

Read said conditions now are even worse than before the storm.

“It really highlighted the challenges we’re dealing with in this camp. The camp was pretty uninhabitable. Is it really inhabitable now? It’s soaking wet. They were completely under water,” Read said.

“It remains this huge hazard for people to be in there. It’s really disappointing that we can have a situation like that, and then everybody goes right back into the camp.”

It’s unacceptable that people have to be living rough in there for another winter, she added.

Anita Place Tent City opened in the spring of 2017.

After the storm, 44 residents were bused up to the Greg Moore Youth Centre and stayed there Friday and Saturday nights. A local church also opened its doors on Sunday for some tent city residents.

About 20 people remained in the camp after the storm, fire chief Howard Exner said earlier.

Read expected most residents who were in the tent city before the storm will return. She hasn’t heard of B.C. Housing providing any alternative emergency housing location.

Safety issues at the camp are taxing Maple Ridge’s fire and rescue service, Read added.

The mayor, though, wouldn’t say if the city was planning to seek an injunction to clear the camp because of safety issues.

There needs to be more housing in addition to the 55 modular homes that open next month on Royal Crescent, she added.

The province knows that more than 55 people are homeless in Maple Ridge.

“People living rough, outdoors, for another winter, is just not acceptable.”

She defended city council’s rejection in May of an 85-unit supportive housing shelter on Burnett Street because the city wanted more health resources for that facility.

“From a city council perspective, we have an entire city to consider.”

The pressure for cities to be the approving parties for such shelters puts them in a difficult situation, Read said. It’s the city’s responsibility to weigh the balance for the entire city.

And B.C. Housing still has a responsibility to provide emergency housing for people in tent city, she added.

“This is not the jurisdiction of the local government. This is a massive systemic failure in so many levels that fall under provincial domain,” Read said.

B.C. Housing, however, has said it’s now up to the city to find a new location for a supportive housing complex.

Ivan Drury, with the Alliance Against Displacement, said Monday that most people have returned to tent city and added that the provincial government has promised to replace sleeping bags and blankets that have been ruined by the water.

But most of that hasn’t shown up yet.

And what has been replaced is of cheaper quality goods that are not going to last, he added.

The flooding has created a disaster at the camp, Drury said.

The camp’s residents say their tents were levelled and poles and canopies snapped by hail, while more than a metre of water crashed through camp, soaking and washing away their belongings.

In a news release Monday, Drury asked if the B.C. government responds differently to victims of a natural disaster if they are already homeless.

“And why does it take a flood for the B.C. government only recognize homelessness as a disaster?”

Just Posted

Sierra Acton, regional district director for Shawnigan Lake. (file photo)
New parkland in Shawnigan creating connections

Used to created parking for the popular Masons Beach Park

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: This could be the worst thing done to you during the pandemic

As a result, all of us will contend with more ‘scarcity’ thinking and mindset.

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read