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Maple Ridge tent city cleared after evacuation order

Last Updated Mar 2, 2019 at 9:31 pm PDT

Summary

People living at the tent city in Maple Ridge have been ordered evacuated, and were made to leave Saturday

The City of Maple Ridge says they are setting up a place for them to go with meals, and a safe and warm place to sleep

MAPLE RIDGE (NEWS 1130) — Anita Place tent city in Maple Ridge has now been fully evacuated after the camp was ordered to clear out Friday night.

According to the City of Maple Ridge, 15 people have come into a temporary a registration centre meant to offer up meals and emergency shelter to residents. On Monday, the Salvation Army is expected to take over helping the people who have been forced to leave.

Camp supporters previously estimated around 50 people had been living at the site.

The evacuation order, issued by the province’s fire commissioner, came down after three fires broke out at the camp this week. City security personnel and police will be watching to keep the camp closed.

The camp has been a source of tension with people living in the nearby area — a petition launched yesterday asking the city to remove the camp has gathered nearly 1,000 signatures.

Residents slowly filtered out Saturday as crews arrived, and weren’t able to take much with them. It’s unclear if residents will ever be able to get back in.

RELATED: Three fires in three days at Maple Ridge homeless camp

Ashley Burr with CityNews says most residents left of their own volition after police asked them to leave, but some may still be inside.

“Residents are grabbing whatever they can. You can see them filtering out with suitcases, blankets,” she says. “A shelter has been opened by the city for them to go to, but a lot of them say they’re not going to even bother going there, so they’re going to find friends or other places to stay.

“People just think that it’s just moving the problem elsewhere and not solving it, that’s what I’m hearing a lot on the street right now.”

Meantime, Selina Robinson, B.C.’s housing minister, issued a statement saying they are supporting people living in the camp to make sure they have shelter, food and health and social services.

“The safety of the community, and the residents being evacuated, is our immediate focus,” she says in a release. “In the longer term, this reinforces the need to act quickly and build more supportive housing in Maple Ridge.”

She says dozens of people who previously lived at the camp now have homes in modular housing opened a few months ago.