Tent city being dismantled in downtown Chilliwack

The occupants of 35 tents and tarped structures were packing up their belongings Wednesday morning. What wasn't moved was thrown out.

The homeless encampment in downtown Chilliwack on Princess Lane was being dismantled peacefully by city crews Wednesday morning.

The homeless encampment in downtown Chilliwack was being dismantled peacefully if not reluctantly Wednesday morning.

The occupants who had been staying in a collection of 35 tents and tarped structures were packing up their belongings.

A large green garbage bin was transported into the middle of the parking lot where City of Chilliwack operations crews were dumping piles of trash, carts and tarps, with bylaw enforcement and Griffin Security nearby.

No one had a clear idea of where they were headed, with several people commenting what was needed was affordable housing in Chilliwack. Some were being directed to parks.

Since refusing a few weeks ago to remove their belongings, city officials decided to pursue legal action through a court injunction to clear the area. It was filed Oct. 7 and granted last week, but did not come with an enforcement order.

The parking lot is owned by City of Chilliwack, and is bounded by Young Road, Princess Avenue, Yale Road and Nowell Street.

After a B.C. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that municipalities cannot impose blanket prohibitions on homeless setting up tents or structures in public parks, city reps updated its Parks Bylaw in an attempt to strategically restrict and control when and how parks are occupied.

Notice was issued to the campers that they were contravening city bylaws but they refused to budge.

It’s not the only permanent homeless camp in Chilliwack — there are several. But it’s the only one located on city property. The other camps are on private land, First Nations land or provincial Crown Land, over which the city has no jurisdiction.

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