Courtney BC Buying Expensive Public Relations Black Eye With Maple Pool Campground Legal Action

Yesterday (Thursday) Courtenay lawyer Clive Ansley, who represents the Maple Pool Campground owners Dali and Jin Lin, and Pivot Legal Society lawyer Scott Bernstein, held a joint media conference at Maple Pool to outline their intention to apply to the court to consider whether evicting Maple Pool tenants violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The mandate of the Pivot Legal Society, a Vancouver-based, non-profit society is to use the law to create social change. The lawyers added: "Since at least the 1960s, Maple Pool has served as a low-income residence for some of Courtenay's poorest and most vulnerable residents. Approximately 54 permanent residents currently inhabit Maple Pool, and most would likely become homeless if forced to leave."

Perhaps the mayor and council of Courtney should ask their lawyers how expensive it would be for Courtney's taxpayers to get into a protracted legal battle that could go on for years and end up in Canada's Supreme Court. Besides being a totally divisive issue in the community already, the nationally publicized legal battle that would ensue from trying evict the low-income residents of the Maple Pool Campground would also lead to a public relations black eye for Courtney and the area. Not exactly what you'd think is the best thing for a tourism dependent economy eh!

Ansley feels City council is reluctant to move forward on this devisive issue. "I don't think there are many people on council who feel good about it. But what we're dealing with here is a kind of disease that I think is endemic in municipal government across the country. That's what I call the tail wagging the dog," said Ansley, noting that "career administrators" run the city. In a related bit of good news Courtney Mayor Larry Jangula announced Thursday that Courtenay's chief administrative officer, Sandy Gray, has resigned  leaving city hall at the end of March 2013. Gary has been the most outspoken advocate of perusing this lawsuit in city hall.

Campsite owners Dali and Jin Lin are the proud and much loved operaters of this low-rent, Community Living Project for 54 tenants, many of whom had been homeless before moving onto the site. Mayor Larry Jangula, who said he was against the lawsuit when he ran for office last fall, has said, "When you see the respect and the joy that those tenants have when they see the Lins, that says it all. Maple Pool is a little community. They all know each other ..it's like a small village. It's like a village in the forest."

Toni Gore of Vancouver Island University says, "I think you may want to go check out maple pool, and talk to the owners and residents in person before you judge...did you know that they offer weekly free meals, a resident food and clothing bank, as well as healthy activities like street soccer and tai chi (all at their own expense I might add)." A legal defense fund, 'The Maple Pool Campsite Defence Fund',  has been setup at RBC Royal Bank for donations to help the Lins with their legal expenses. You can email Jean Rowe [jeanrowe2011@gmail.com] if you have any questions about it.

Or if you'd like to tell Mayor Larry Jangula and his council your opinion about their decision to put Courtney and its taxpayers into an expensive and divisive legal battle by trying evict the low-income residents of  the Maple Pool Campground that will only lead to a public relations black eye for Courtney and the tourism dependent area, here's a list of their names, phone numbers and email addresses, i'm sure they be glad to here from you.

Mayor Larry Jangula - Phone: 250-703-4842  [ljangula@courtenay.ca]
Councillor Jon Ambler - Phone:  250-334-3458 [jambler@courtenay.ca]
Councillor Bill Anglin - Phone:250-334-8484 [banglin@courtenay.ca]
Councillor Doug Hillian - Phone: 250-334-4441 [dhillian@courtenay.ca]
Councillor Ronna-Rae Leonard - Phone: 250-334-4441 [rleonard@courtenay.ca]
Councillor Manno Theos Phone: - 250-334-4441 [mtheos@courtenay.ca]
Councillor Starr Winchester Phone: - 250-334-2664 [swinchester@courtenay.ca]