Tent City costs keep rising

         Tent City is going to cost the province more money.  The Times Colonist reports the BC Supreme Court ruled the provincial government must pay $55,000 of the legal bills for lawyers that acted pro bono for homeless advocates, Together Against Poverty Society.
           TAPS went to bat for homeless people facing eviction from the camp as they had nowhere to go. They were seeking just over $246,000 in legal costs, but Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson ruled only a portion was justified as the case did not meet the standard of being exceptional with regards to the public interest.
           Homeless people began camping on the courthouse lawn in the fall of 2015.  By the time the province was able to get an injunction to remove them last summer government had been forced to spend $26 million on alternate housing for the homeless.
           The courts granted an injunction last June because serious safety concerns had arisen, and housing was being arranged.  When soil tests confirmed the grounds had been contaminated with fuel and trace amounts of methamphetamine, the provincial government spent a further $350-thousand on remediation -- which included removing the soil and 9 trees.
           Officials plan to start putting a playground on the site this spring, with construction to start next month.

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