Tent city residents get the boot

Whitehorse tent city residents were served with an eviction notice on Tuesday. But not everyone has to move, yet. The eviction notice was issued by White Pass and Yukon Route, which owns a swath of land abutting the Yukon government building's lawn.

Whitehorse tent city residents were served with an eviction notice on Tuesday.

But not everyone has to move, yet.

The eviction notice was issued by White Pass and Yukon Route, which owns a swath of land abutting the Yukon government building’s lawn.

The lawn and much of White Pass’ property was filled with up to 40 tents over the summer, but these have shrunk to less than five in the last few weeks.

The remaining tents are on government property, but two trailers are still parked on White Pass turf.

And these trailers have to go, according to a letter from White Pass land management director Jaime Bricker.

“You are trespassing on our property and have 48 hours to vacate the premises before we take further action, without notice to you,” says her letter.

Kevin Sweeney owns the trailer that’s been sitting on White Pass property since August.

The homeless father of three thought he was on government land, until he received the eviction notice Tuesday.

“The housing crisis is affecting families deeply,” said Sweeney.

“And the government is busy tearing things down, like the old nursing residence, instead of putting things up to help house people.”

Sweeney helped build the new nursing residence.

And when Whitehorse hosted the Canada Winter Games, “the athlete’s village sure went up in a hurry,” he said.

“I’ve been involved in construction projects all over.

“But no one’s building affordable housing.”

White Pass “appreciates the cause for protest,” wrote Bricker in the eviction notice.

But the company cites a number of concerns arising from the tent city, including vandalism, nudity, destruction of property, trolley safety, and pet feces.

“Nudity – it’s the middle of freakin’ October,” said Mark Bowers, who owns the other camper served with an eviction notice.

And the trolley’s not even running, he said.

Bowers parked his camper on the land in the middle of October as part of the Occupy Whitehorse movement.

And the recent eviction speaks volumes, he said.

At the bottom of the letter, White Pass gets to the meat of the issue, according to Bowers.

The company cites liability concerns, as “the approaching extreme weather conditions are not conducive to safe camping.”

It’s an American company “putting profits before people,” said Bowers.

“This sums up what the Occupy movement means to me.”

Bowers isn’t sure what he is going to do next.

“We are having conversations with the Occupy group to figure out how to respond,” he said. “Because we want to respond rather than react.”

Sweeney is considering pulling his trailer over to government property.

“We are monitoring the situation, in terms of the trailer and will deal with it as it arises,” said Highways and Public Works spokesperson Aisha Montgomery.

“Private land is not a place for protest or convenience camping,” she said.

Health and Social Services staff have been meeting with tent city residents to “ensue they have viable options,” added Montgomery.

“Each situation is different.”

Sweeney tried to meet with the premier after receiving his eviction notice, but Darrell Pasloski was in meetings, he was told.

“I want to see him face to face, there is no reason he should be ducking,” said Sweeney.

Pasloski did not return calls by press time.

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com

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