We are the Smash Bros. champions of the world
Plus the city opts out of dealing with homeless camps and a himbo Mr. PG
Hey, hey, sorry for no newsletter yesterday. Let’s make up for it with a newsletter today? There’s a lot in it. Arguably too much. Almost like it should have been two newsletters. Forutnately, you have three days to read through it. OK, let’s go!
P.G. ESports win
I had no idea we had high school E-Sports circuit in town now. Anyways, a group of PGSS students just won an international Smash Bros. tournament. As someone who still plays Smash Bros. on a Nintendo 64 with friends from high school every year or so, I love this.
The city has decided it can’t do anything about homeless camps
After creating controversial bylaws and violating court orders in its quest to remove the visible signs of homelessness in the community, the city has apparently decided to throw its hands up when it comes to the growth of a homeless camp on 1st Ave., issuing a statement to the Citizen reading:
“The City is aware of concerns relating to the present use and condition of Millennium Park, located at First Avenue and George Street… The current state of Millennium Park is one result of a complex web of challenges facing the City and its residents, including a shortfall not only in housing and shelter space, but also in health and safety supports for the City’s unhoused population. The City is aware of the safety and security concerns expressed by residents and business owners relating to the downtown core and other areas of the city.”
“In 2021 and 2022, the City initiated litigation in an attempt to address concerns pertaining to the encampment in the Lower Patricia area, including concerns relating to public safety and security in City parks and surrounding residential and business areas… This approach was not successful, however it did serve to confirm the limited jurisdiction the City has in matters pertaining to the unhoused population. It is clear that these issues can only be meaningfully addressed only with the cooperation and support of Provincial authorities.”
Except… this isn’t strictly true. Yes, this is a multifaceted issue and yes it requires cooperation from other entities, but it doesn’t mean the city has no jurisdiction to do anything. The legal ruling preventing the city from shutting down the Lower Patricia (Moccasin Flats) homeless camp also explicitly said the city could take action on other encampments in the community. As you’ll recall, in the summer of 2021 when the city first filed for a court injunction, there were two camps: One on Lower Patricia, and one on George Street, across from the courthouse. Here is what the judge wrote:
Given the migration of most of the occupants of the George Street encampment to the encampment at Lower Patricia, I find that it is unnecessary for the George Street encampment to continue. Its residents can move to the Lower Patricia encampment.
In the result, the City’s application for a mandatory and permanent injunction order against the respondents, and all those having knowledge of the order Court:
to remove all structures, tents, shelters, shopping carts, stoves, rubbish, objects, personal chattels, and other things on the George Street property;
to vacate the George Street property;
not re-enter the George Street property; and
not erect or bring structures, tents, shelters, shopping carts, stoves, rubbish, objects, personal chattels, and other things, at other than the Lower Patricia encampment.
is granted to take effect seven days from the date of these reasons for judgment.
The judge went on to rule that after seven days, city employees would be allowed to do the following to anything not moved:
dismantle and remove from the properties all structures, tents, shelters, shopping carts, stoves, rubbish, objects, personal chattels, and other things remaining on the properties; and
sell, destroy, or otherwise dispose of, those items removed from the properties, without recourse to the respondents.
To be clear, that was giving the city explicit permission to tell people to move to Lower Patricia from the George St. camp or lose their stuff.
And look, I’m not saying the city should be taking action on this other camp, necessarily. But is also isn’t strictly true that they have no choice but to do nothing, as they are making it sound in this statement. I also notice the statement talks about how they weren’t allowed to do anything about the Lower Patricia camp while not mentioning the fact they were allowed to — and did — do something about the George St. camp which, last time I checked, still isn’t there.
Having previously interpreted a court order saying “you can’t destroy shelters in this one homeless camp” and decided they could, in fact, destroy shelters there and being reminded that wasn’t the case, the city has apparently decided to move in the opposite direction and taken “you can’t take down this one homeless camp” to mean “you can’t do anything about any homeless camps.” I continue to be curious about who is providing the city with advice on how to interpret this ruling.
Canada’s largest Relay for Life is permanently cancelled:
This one surprised me. After several years being the largest event of its kind in the country, the annual 24-hour cancer relay has been permanently cancelled. Apparently there weren’t enough volunteers to put it on. End of an era.
Signs, signs, everywhere some signs
Biden comes for forestry jobs
The B.C. Lumber Trade Council has expressed some concern but points out there’s a pretty good chance this “Buy American” policy won’t really affect things.
Some random tweets:
No good concerts?
Over the last few days I’ve seen a few expressions of disappointment at the quality of bands Prince George gets which… grass is always greener, I guess. We’re never going to have the same level of shows as a major metro area and when it comes to smaller acts, everyone is going to have different preferences. That said, there are a few interesting insights in this thread at the challenges faced by would-be promoters in getting bands to come here. BUT! I will also remind you that there are great shows pretty much every week. They might not be marquee names but they are entertaining as heck. If you want live music, support live music.
Letters to the editor:
Some responses to my post last week about snow days and whether we should have them.
I agree we need snow days sometimes. There were almost no kids away at [my kid’s school] yesterday and most don't live within walking distance like we do. Driving would have been unsafe and extremely difficult and I would have gotten stuck multiple times. There was no way our car was getting out of our neighborhood without a person running along behind it to push it when it got stuck.
And from Heather:
In my experience, during storm advisories managers often work from home while front-line staff struggle and skid their way in to work. If a snow day was declared then more of us peasants could stay off the road too.
In addition to SD 57, I think CNC & UNBC are big enough employers and destinations to make a difference by closing. (disclosure: I work in that sector)
Also, as storms become more frequent and extreme we need to re-evaluate our response to them.
Two days worth of other news for you to read over the weekend:
A summertime gem, the Park Drive-In Theatre has been sold and will remain operational.
Speaking of gems, the city is interested in creating a new park along the Nechako River.
All that snow we got last week means our snowpack is at nearly normal levels.
Prince George may have been named the most affordable city in B.C. but there’s a difference between “most affordable” and affordable.”
Northern Development Initiative Trust has been given a $1.5M cash infusion to support regional development.
The Prince George region predicted to have weakest job growth in B.C.
A provincial tourism and hospitality conference to be held in Prince George soon.
Fresh off being the first Prince George baseball player to be called up to the big leagues, Jarden Young has been named to World Baseball Classic’s Team Canada.
Mayor Simon Yu calls budget increase ‘reasonable’ given challenges city faces.
Theatre Northwest’s next production, the Shoplifters, is set to begin next week.
The new Two Rivers Gallery exhibition explores facets of migration
The Iceman returns this Sunday, sans the skating portion thanks to the warm weather.
Finally, here’s a Himbo Mr. PG:
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