Back-and-forth continues between Maple Ridge and province on homeless issue
A smoke bomb dropped into the RainCity shelter area in Maple Ridge on Thanksgiving Monday resulted in a full evacuation of the facility.
It’s not known who is responsible for the smoke bomb, but the incident is the latest in a series of incidents at – or around – the facility.
Now, Maple Ridge is calling on the province to show “decisiveness and urgency in addressing the ongoing needs of homeless persons in the community,” said a release from the City.
It’s not the first time they’ve sent correspondence to the Clark government.
“On September 23, the city sent a letter to Premier Christy Clark urging the province to clarify comments made by the Premier during an interview with local media,” the same release read.
“The first was an assertion that the city had made the proposal to renovate the Quality Inn to address the imminent closure of the temporary shelter at the end of March,” it continued.
"The actual proposal came from BC Housing and the Ministry of Housing, and was withdrawn when the local MLAs did not support their government’s solution. Council was concerned that the Premier’s comments reflect that she had been misinformed on actual details of the first proposal.”
The second area of concern, was "a comment from Premier Christy Clark stating that the final decision on the location of the proposed shelter and housing facility would depend on the support of local MLAs Dr. Doug Bing and Marc Dalton.”
On October 5, after learning that the Province may request yet another extension to the shelter, a letter was sent by Chief Administrative Officer, Ted Swabey, to Shayne Ramsay, executive director of BC Housing, expressing concern about the length of the shelter’s operation and the effects on its residents, staff, and the community.
As of Tuesday, Oct. 11, the city had received no response to the letter to the Premier.
"Enough is enough,” said Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read. “Our city is becoming further and further divided and our vulnerable citizens more and more at risk as we await a solution that is not fraught with misalignment within the provincial government.”
The current approach, Read said, “is simply not good enough for homeless citizens whose lives hang in the balance or our public who already struggle to trust provincial outcomes in the areas of mental health and addiction.”