Concerns about a homeless camp along the Fraser River emerged Monday after campers were told they had to leave amid worries about garbage being thrown into the waterway.
One piece of heavy equipment was on site, along with a bin to gather the trash that littered the forest south of the CP Rail tracks off the Haney Bypass.
Maple Ridge Coun. Ahmed Yousef said the city was made aware of the issue last week when the property owners asked the city to help them with the cleanup.
He said that he was only aware of two or three people camping in the woods, although more than four tents could be seen at various points through the trees and along the tracks.
He said he was told about two propane tanks floating down the river.
“So we are trying to mitigate the ecological impact, as well as … the impact on the waterway and the environment.”
A local environmental group called Plastic Battle held a cleanup of the shoreline on July 13 and discovered the camp. Volunteers were concerned that trash was going into the river.
Yousef estimates that the campers have been there for a couple of months.
He said a bulldozer was on site “to remove what looks like a giant cement pipe,” that a witness said had been packed with garbage.
Yousef doesn’t know when the campers will have to leave, as that is up to the property owners.
He would like to see a similar development to the New Westminster Quay with restaurants, cafés and walkways, like the plan to develop the area put forth under former mayor Ernie Daykin in 2012.
“I believe that’s the plan we should be reviving, and developing the area in order to offer our residents the same level of entertainment and leisure right there on our waterfront, as well as … increase our economic commercial, industrial activities.”