(Lheidli T’enneh Territory, Prince George, BC) — The BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) welcomes the City of Prince George’s Statement on Appeal of Encampment Injunction Decisions and the press release City Apologizes for Causing Harm to Vulnerable Citizens, released today.
“I’m pleased that the City is moving in a more positive direction by withdrawing their appeal to seek closure of the Moccasin Flats encampment in downtown Prince George, and that they have apologized to Prince George citizens who were harmed and traumatized by their illegal destruction last fall of residents’ shelters and people’s personal possessions,” stated Regional Chief Terry Teegee. “We must continue to work together toward humane, evidence-based approaches that will benefit all Prince George citizens and ensure social and environmental improvements in the face of ongoing life-threatening crises of poverty, homelessness, and illicit-drug poisoning.”
Going forward, it is crucial that the City works collaboratively and engages with organizations and individuals who are knowledgeable in the cultures and lived experiences of Prince George citizens who are struggling on the streets. A collaborative and evidence-based approach will ensure long-term and effective impacts that will benefit everyone living in the community of Prince George.
“Resources must be used more humanely if we are to see improved positive changes in Prince George. I hope to see less discriminatory bylaw enforcement, harassment strategies, harmful policies from the City, bylaw officers and RCMP,” further stated Regional Chief Teegee. “Let’s forge a path of reconciliation together.”
Earlier this week, the BCAFN released two reports demonstrating the troubling and harmful impacts of Prince George’s Anti-Homelessness Bylaw. Experiences With Bylaw in Prince George comprises exploratory qualitative research documenting the experiences of de-housed and precariously housed residents under the Safe Streets Bylaw. Move On: The First Ninety-Nine Days of the City of Prince George Safe Streets Bylaw outlines an analysis carried out by Dr. Joe Hermer, chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. Both reports can be found on the BCAFN website.