Temporary fencing has now been placed around the George Street encampment in downtown Prince George, after the occupants have relocated to supportive housing.
The City of Prince George said that yesterday (Nov. 2) staff in collaboration with B.C. Housing and the RCMP helped relocate the 20 occupants who moved willingly with totes containing their belongings.
The city then set up the fencing around the site to prevent further encampments from being established and staff are now removing debris that was left behind at the site.
“This is a very challenging time for staff, residents, and business owners as we manage this serious health and safety concern,” said Adam Davey, Director of Public Safety in a statement.
“I am very pleased with the work of all of our bylaw, parks, and outreach staff and the work they did with BC Housing, RCMP, and other community groups to help relocate the occupants with dignity and respect.”
An Oct. 22 B.C. Supreme Court ruling determined the City of Prince George could remove the George Street encampment but could not remove the encampment on Lower Patricia Boulevard, dubbed Moccasin Flats, until suitable housing is available.
In his ruling, Chief Justice Hinkson said that as most of the estimated 80 occupants of the encampments were in the Lower Patricia site, he saw no need for the George Street encampment to continue.
Residents of Moccasin Flats celebrated the court ruling with a feast on Oct. 29 which featured a small fire, drumming, songs, and a table full of food.
The City of Prince George said it is continuing to review the decision of Chief Justice Hinkson and will take the appropriate legal or practical steps necessary the health and safety of all citizens.
The city said it is also continuing to work to work closely with BC Housing to ensure the availability of shelter or housing to transition the occupants in the Lower Patricia encampment.
In early October, the provincial government announced it was leasing a downtown motel, the Knight’s Inn, which would provide 44 units of supportive housing for people living outside or in emergency shelters.
The Prince George Native Friendship Centre will be the operator and will provide residents with support services, including meals and health and wellness supports.
In addition to the Knights Inn, the City says that 127 supportive homes are either under construction or in development in Prince George.