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Back-and-forth continues between Maple Ridge and province on homeless issue

Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read -
Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read
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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"The actual proposal came from BC Housing and the Ministry of Housing, and was withdrawn when the local MLAs did not support  their  government’s  solution.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.”

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