NEWS

Abbotsford homeless campers await decision by B.C. Supreme Court

09/29/2014 11:10 EDT | Updated 11/29/2014 05:59 EST
A group of homeless people in Abbotsford, B.C., will find out today if  they will be able to argue in B.C. Supreme Court that they have the right to set up camp in a city park.

Pivot Legal Society lawyer D.J. Larkin, which is representing the homeless group at Jubilee Park, says that city bylaws prohibiting camping on public property are unconstitutional because they put peoples' lives at risk.

The case is one of two attempts by Pivot to defend the right of homeless people to camp in city parks.

Pivot and Larkin are also expected to be in court in Vancouver on Monday morning seeking to block an injunction from the City of Vancouver to evict another group of homeless campers out of Oppenheimer Park on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Larkin says the Abbotsford case is an important part of their strategy.

"If we win, that means the court gets to hear one of the most important cases about housing rights and harm reduction for people living on the streets that has ever been brought in Canada, and if we lose, a group of marginalized people who have very little access to the court system will be denied their day in court," says Larkin.

The constitutional challenge was provoked by a long string of events in Abbotsford, including an attempt by city workers to deter homeless people from camping in a park last year by dumping chicken manure at the site.


 

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