Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Hearing on Moccasin Flats to begin Monday at Prince George Courthouse

The city’s application for Court Order to close Moccasin Flats will be heard Monday
Mocassin Flats tent
Three people seen putting up a tent at Moccasin Flats

A two-day hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13. as the City of Prince George is seeking a court order to evict the remaining residents and close down the encampment on Lower Patricia Boulevard known as Moccasin Flats.

If the order proposed by the city is granted, the occupants would have until noon on Monday Dec. 20 to remove all structures and belongings and to vacate the site.

Initially, the city was seeking to have the encampment closed by Dec. 10, but a judge rejected the request to hold the hearing just 11 days after the city filed its petition and delayed the matter to allow for opponents to the move to build a case.

The two lawyers, Darlene Kavka and Melanie Begaika, represented the occupants when the City applied for a court injunction to shut down the camp in October.

Finding a lack of places for the occupants to go, a judge rejected that portion of the application but approved closure of a smaller camp on George Street across from the courthouse.

Since then most, but not all, of those living at Moccasin Flats have been moved into supportive housing, according to officials.

Court documents in support of the City’s application include affidavits from City staff, Prince George RCMP, BC Housing, and a number of residents and businesses in the area.

Those include an affidavit from an analyst at the Prince George RCMP who tracks trends in crime to help police determine how to best deploy their resources.

The affidavit indicates the number of complaints to police about incidents within a 250-metre radius of the site rose by 115 files, or nearly 290 per cent, represented a 400-per-cent jump from the first five months of the year before the camp was established.

In other affidavits, Prince George RCMP members say the camp has been the scene of illicit drug use and overdoses, fights between occupants, attendance of "Johns" soliciting for prostitution, scattered chattel and apparent stolen property and construction material and uncontrolled burns.

Court documents related to the action also include an affidavit from Michelle McGregor, a legal advocate for the B.C. First Nations Justice Council.

McGregor says she was on at the camp at the end of Lower Patricia Boulevard on Nov. 17 when the City deployed front-end loaders and a dump truck to clear out some of the sites left behind by the occupants no longer living there.

Despite bylaw officers telling her the occupants have given consent to have their belongings destroyed, McGregor says she noticed two people "rummaging through a pile of tents that had been bulldozed."

The affidavit also includes a "point in time" count of homeless in Prince George conducted in March by Community Partners Addressing Homelessness in March but not made public until November 9, about a month after the hearing on the City's previous attempt to close down Moccasin Flats.

The survey found that at least 163 people were experiencing "absolute homelessness" on the night of the count, up 18 per cent from 133 in 2018 when the last survey was conducted.

The hearing will begin Monday, Dec. 13 at 9:45 a.m. via videoconference at the Prince George Courthouse.

Further to applying for an application to close the Lower Patricia encampment, the city also previously announced it will be appealing Chief Justice Hinkson’s original ruling to the BC Court of Appeal, and will be seeking financial assistance on the cost of the appeal from the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) appeal fund and other local governments in B.C.

- with files from Mark Nielsen, Prince George Citizen