The Banana Boat, is the latest business to sign up with the Ridge Meadows RCMP for the Safe Place Program initiative. (Ridge Meadows RCMP/Special to The News)

The Banana Boat, is the latest business to sign up with the Ridge Meadows RCMP for the Safe Place Program initiative. (Ridge Meadows RCMP/Special to The News)

Pitt Meadows business signs up for Safe Place Program with Ridge Meadows RCMP

An initiative to ensure LGBTQS2+ community’s safety

A newly minted local business is part of the Ridge Meadows RCMP’s BC Safe Place Program.

The Banana Bike, a family-owned business from the Evans family of Pitt Meadows, is now part of the local RCMP detachment’s program that provides a safe place for LGBTQ2S+ if they need help.

Chad, Alison, Chris and Nicky Evans started The Banana Bike this June, to sell chocolate-dipped frozen bananas. The family has since been selling on-the-go, and has also been regularly attending the Port Coquitlam and Haney Farmers’ Markets.

“We wanted to be a part of the Safe Place Program because we believe everyone deserves to feel safe and be safe, and there is no place for hate in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge. We all agreed that we would do anything to help if someone was in need,” said Alison.

“We felt like being a mobile business, we could be an asset to the program, and we encourage all businesses to sign up!” she added.

The Ridge Meadows RCMP implemented the Safe Place initiative in September 2020, to provide an easy identifiable safe place for those identifying as LGBTQ2S+ if they are a victim of a crime and need help. The detachment receives inquiries from businesses in the city that would like to display the Safe Place program’s logo either on their window or entrance to their building.

The program first began in Seattle, was taken up by the Vancouver RCMP and it was adopted and launched by the E Division of the RCMP – which covers the entire province – in 2018.

Constable Julie Klaussner of the Ridge Meadows RCMP said that if someone in the LGBTQ2S+ community goes to any business that displays the logo, they know that this is a Safe Place to seek help if they either wish to report a crime, have been a victim of a crime, or witnessed a crime against someone in the LGBTQ2S+ community.

So far, a total of seven businesses have signed up to participate in the program including Capture Photography Studio, Centre Stage Dance, Maple Ridge Veterinary Hospital, Maple Ridge Wellness Centre, RBC, Zena’s Bakery and now The Banana Bike.

A social media post from the detachment read, “Our newest addition to the BC Safe Place Program, The Banana Bike. This program provides an easy identifiable Safe Place for LGTBQ2S+ to go to if they are the victim of a crime and need help. If you interested in joining the program, please contact us for more information.”

The Ridge Meadows detachment had one report of crime against a person in the LGBTQ2S+ community since July of last year, said Klaussner.

“The Ridge Meadows RCMP encourages all business to participate in Safe Place. We want a city of community and inclusivity for all. A place where everyone can feel safe to go if they have been a victim of a crime. In a situation where a person is in duress, seeing the sticker on a door may encourage someone to get help,” she said.

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