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Power theft at First Avenue camp raises city councillor’s ire

Residents of the camp are using power from the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George’s parking lot plug-ins.
An extension cord from the encampment at Millennial Park is plugged into the power outlets in the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George parking lot on Thursday afternoon.

The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George shouldn’t be allowing residents of the encampment at Millennial Park, located at First Avenue and George Street, to be stealing power, according to Prince George city councillor Brian Skakun.

Skakun, who represents the city on the regional district board, raised the issued during the board’s meeting on Thursday. Several extension cords from the camp were plugged into the outlets in the regional district’s parking lot, as of Thursday afternoon.

“It took every bit of me not to unplug those cords. They are stealing the power, as far as I am concerned,” Skakun said. “What we are saying is it is OK to steal the power, it is OK to trash the property, it’s OK to destroy the sidewalk… because there is no consequences.”

While the B.C. Supreme Court has ruled that the city can’t remove the possessions or items from the encampment on Lower Patricia Boulevard, named Moccasin Flats by residents, Skakun said there is no court order he is aware of that requires the regional district to provide free power to the camp.

“If we leave that power on… next thing you know, they are going to take the power in the back (of the district office building,)” Skakun said.

Regional district CAO Jim Martin said the district has been in regular contact with both the City of Prince George and the RCMP regarding the camp.

“We are no different than any other business or organization downtown,” Martin said. “We are trying to co-exist with it as best we can.”

The power usage is a small cost to the regional district, Martin said, but it has bought the regional district some goodwill and leverage with their neighbours in Millennial Park.

“We are trying to show a little compassion,” he said. “(And) we have limited vandalism and break-ins… in part because of the goodwill we have.”

Millennial Park is City of Prince George property.