Squatter a no show

A man living illegally near Scout Lake failed to show up to court for the second time on Thursday. On-and-off since at least 2009, Piotr Kijewski has been living with his teenage daughter in a wall-tent beside Scout Lake.

A man living illegally near Scout Lake failed to show up to court for the second time on Thursday.

On-and-off since at least 2009, Piotr Kijewski has been living with his teenage daughter in a wall-tent beside Scout Lake.

In November of that year, a conservation officer informed the territory’s manager of land use that the Kijewskis were living on public land.

In the summer of 2010, with campers and hikers using the area, the Ibex Valley Hamlet Council submitted a complaint, which led to a government-requested inspection.

At that time, it appeared Kijewski, a Polish immigrant who came to Canada eight years ago, had found a loop-hole in government policy.

At least 30 years ago, with Yukon Boy Cubs and Scouts in mind, Scout Lake was set aside as a recreational reserve.

The reserve status allows no more than two people to camp for up to 400 days.

All it would take would be a night in town to restart the 400-day count.

Kijewski was legally able to continue living on what local residents claim is one of the best spots on the lake, living off the fish he caught, heating his one-room, one-bed canvas tent with locally gathered wood and running his daughter’s computer off solar panels, without paying a cent in rent or taxes.

And it would remain legal unless the government either removed the reserve status, or if Kijewski expanded his squatting structures to constitute an occupation of land.

Kijewski never dug an outhouse. Local residents claimed to see plastic bags filled with feces tied to trees near his camp, which “scares the wildlife,” they said Kijewski told them.

But, after another inspection in 2010, Kijewski had built a plywood floor for the wall tent.

The manager of land use concluded Kijewski’s camp was now an illegal occupation of land and “made reasonable efforts to resolve the issue by offering (Kijewski) assistance to find alternate housing.”

But Kijewski wasn’t living out there for financial reasons, he said in an interview with the News in 2010.

He and his daughter had been squatting for the past seven years.

It was better living in the forest than in mouldy homes in Pouce Coupe outside of Dawson Creek, BC, said Kijewski, referencing where they stayed before coming north to the Yukon.

And in 2010, he maintained that he wanted to live in the “fresh air” so his daughter doesn’t have to grow up surrounded by chemicals.

In mid-November 2010, the government gave Kijewski 30 days to vacate voluntarily.

He did not respond.

On January 28, 2011, days after the case was supposed to be heard in court, the government learned Kijewski had received permission to move to a nearby parcel of Kwanlin Dun First Nation land for six months, ending in June.

On July 26, the manager of land use requested another inspection, and found Kijewski was back out at Scout Lake.

Two days later, he was hand-delivered another letter to vacate in two days-time.

An inspection on August 1, found he had again relocated to Kwanlin Dun land, after receiving permission for another two weeks.

On August 22, another inspection showed Kijewski and his daughter were back at Scout Lake.

On August 31, he was served a summons by the sheriff to appear in court on September 7.

Kijewski and his daughter, once again, left Scout Lake.

He did not appear in court.

Now, after his truck was spotted just south of Carcross on September 26, the government believes Kijewski has relocated to that area.

On October 11, both Kijewski and the government were supposed to file their arguments in court.

Kijewski never did.

On Thursday, October 13, both parties were supposed to appear in court.

Kijewski never did.

The case was adjourned “generally” on Thursday, meaning it is over unless either party brings it back up. The issue can still be resolved out of court.

Kijewski and his daughter’s whereabouts has still not been confirmed, according to the court file. But the government believes it is “likely” they will return to Scout Lake. (With files from Vivian Belik)

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