Judge rules that Burnaby can evict Camp Cloud

Staff Reporter

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The City of Burnaby wants Camp Cloud evicted.
Photograph By NOW FILES

A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled on Friday afternoon that the City of Burnaby can go ahead and evict Camp Cloud from its spot on Burnaby Mountain.

Justice Geoffrey Gomery has given Camp Cloud residents 48 hours from the time they are served a court order to take down all structures and leave the camp that has been set up on Shellmont Street.

A city official told the NOW that it will work to have the court order drawn up and served at some point today (Friday). The city will also be consulting with the local RCMP to develop a plan on how to evict the residents peacefully if they haven’t left by 48 hours after the order is served.

No Camp Cloud residents were in court when Gomery issued his ruling, but representatives have said they will not leave willingly – even if the court approves an eviction.

Gomery ruled that after the 48 hours are up, Camp Cloud residents are:

  • Restrained from constructing any new buildings on the property
  • Restrained from being in any of the existing buildings or on the property
  • Parking any vehicles or trailers on the property
  • Not allowed to have any fires on the property
  • The city were told by the judge that if Camp Cloud residents have no vacated the property and taken down the structures, then the city is allowed to remove all residents and structures.

City of Burnaby lawyer Greg McDade went before Gomery in the morning to secure a court order to enforce a June 18 eviction notice. Camp Cloud had no legal representation, but a handful of supporters were in court to watch the proceedings during the morning session.

The issues before the judge were complicated as previous rulings have supported Camp Cloud’s right to exist.

McDade said in court that the city is not opposed to protests and is sympathetic to the cause, but added that issues involved with Camp Cloud have escalating since it was first established.

McDade highlighted one incident, in which Camp Cloud members kicked out a senior member of the Burnaby Fire Department, saying the event was “on the edge of violence.”

“This is not a matter of protesters sharing city space,” McDade said.

The city’s application was asking that people not be in the area between midnight and 6 a.m. to prevent overnight camping.

At one point during the morning arguments, Gomery told McDade that this wording was problematic because it would effectively be imposing a curfew for the area – possibly impacting anyone walking or driving through the area, or be violated if protesters wanted to hold a vigil.

McDade also outlined for the judge a series of bylaw violations, including:

  • Building bylaw contraventions for two wood structures erected at the camp – the carvers’ cabin and a second building referred to as a cabin for women and children.
  • Traffic bylaw contraventions, including parking a trailer on city land for more than 24 hours. “These vehicles are there effectively permanently,” McDade said.
  • The 24-hour “sacred fire” is a violation of the fire services bylaw. In regards to the fire, fire department Chief Joe Robertson said in an affidavit that BC Hydro and Shell have both filed complaints. “A wildfire among those trees could have devastating consequences,” McDade told the judge.
  • Violating the sewage bylaw due to Camp Cloud residents having showers. Judge Gomery, however, disagreed that water coming from the camp’s shower met the definition of sanitary sewage.

– With reporting by Cornelia Naylor

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