Camp people scared

Threats have become routine at Cliff Avenue as camp drags on into its fifth month

  • Aug. 13, 2015 12:00 p.m.

Homeless people on Cliff Avenue are fearing for their safety, after regular threats materialized into gasoline being dumped near the first tent in the long row lining the street.

A man living at the camp who did not wish to be identified said the homeless people there have been warned to leave, and threatened that they will be burned out, or beaten with baseball bats.

“Some people have left in fear. They can’t take it anymore,” he said.

The gas was not lit, and one of the camp residents tried to diluted it with a jug of water. Another sprayed it with a fire extinguisher, and they called 9-1-1.

Dr. Liz Zubek, a family physician with a clinic right across the street from the camp, made a posting on the Maple Ridge Council Watch Facebook group that pointed the finger at residents of the street.

She said there was a party at a residence, and the people there blocked the street with a truck and pylons, not allowing traffic to get through to the camp. The RCMP were called to have the barricade removed.

Dan Herbranson, the civilian spokesman for the Ridge Meadows RCMP, confirmed that police attended and “certainly there was an odour of gasoline in the area.”

He said police are aware of “ongoing hostility” directed at the camp residents.

While the immediate neighbours are most effected by the tent city, they are not the only ones growing impatient with the situation.

“It’s not just the neighbours. Quite a number of citizens are upset with the camp being there,” he said.

So far, there are no charges.

“The investigation is definitely ongoing.”

He said the dumping of gasoline did not appear to be necessarily connected to the Rally for Community Safety which was held on Saturday.

“We monitored the march, and it was very peaceful. Everyone was respectful,” said Herbranson.

Salvation Army Caring Place executive director Darrell Pilgrim was not aware of the gas spill, but has heard about the threats from vigilantes.

“We’re certainly concerned with some of the comments we’ve heard about and read on social media,” he said. “Our desire is that everyone involved would be treated with respect.”

Some negative comments have been directed at the Caring Place, and Pilgrim said they are uninformed. Of the hundreds of people in poverty whom the Salvation Army helps every day, the majority do not live on the streets, he said.

The Sally Ann sent 45 kids to summer camp last week, and is putting together 250 packages of school supplies in its backpack campaign.

“We are here to help anybody in our community that is in need – anybody at all,” said Pilgrim

Just Posted

UPDATE: Crash on Haney Bypass has lanes closed

Vehicle plunges down embankment in Maple Ridge

New rail underpass and overpass comes with costs

Pitt Meadows residents will see 0.75 per cent tax increase for rail crossings

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, vehicle crashes

Happened in early evening, injuries unknown

Court supports Maple Ridge role in tent city

Rejects Pivot application to allow people to return

City video updates Maple Ridge Leisure Centre re-do

Rusty support columns delaying project by a few months

Rents in most Canadian cities are unaffordable for lower-income earners: study

Roughly one-third of households, or 4.7 million, are renters

Rare white ravens spotted again on Vancouver Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

Public website opens as meetings start with community leaders

RCMP use helicopter and police dog to search for suspect on Sts’ailes First Nation

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

Missing Vancouver Island woman believed to be on mainland

Rhonda Stevenson, 43, last seen July 13 in central Nanaimo

Psychics, drones being used to search for missing Chilliwack woman with dementia

Drones, psychics, dogs and more have been employed to help find Grace Baranyk, 86

Missing Greater Victoria man last seen in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Jonah Donato, 40, travelled to the mainland in June

B.C. mom to go to Europe court in hopes of getting alleged abducted daughter back

Tasha Brown alleges her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Most Read