The City of Abbotsford has decided not to appeal a court ruling allowing homeless people to camp overnight in city parks.
Last month, a BC Supreme Court judge sided with lawyer from the Pivot Legal Society, who had argued the ban on camping in parks infringed on the homeless’s right to security, since they had nowhere else to go in Abbotsford.
Mayor Henry Braun didn’t see a point of making the appeal.
“This really was settled law and I just didn’t see why we would want to drag this through the courts to gain nothing.”
Braun is asked if he’s now seeing tents in city parks.
“We have three or four that have shown up in different parks.”
At the same time, Braun says a new 40-bed winter shelter will help get folks off the street.
“This is a first for Abbotsford. We don’t have a low barrier, temporary shelter so this is a first of it’s kind in the city. We have a low barrier permanent facility that will be hopefully beginning construction in February or March.”
The city had argued the homeless do have other options, and had gone to court after many residents and business owners complained.
The judge ruled the homeless are allowed to camp out overnight, but must be gone each day at 9 a.m.