Tracy Scott led the Christmas carols. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)

Candlelight Christmas at Anita Place Tent City

Warning not to bring child into camp inspires Maple Ridge event

Volunteers and advocates for Maple Ridge’s homeless people ate Christmas treats and sang carols with the residents of Anita Place Tent City on Saturday evening.

Chris Bossley, who administers a Facebook Page for the camp, said the supporters decided to do the event after an negative incident involving a police officer and a volunteer.

The volunteer was bringing a nine-year-old child into the camp, and an RCMP officer advised her that it was dangerous, and that there are needles everywhere.

The volunteer responded that her grandson has been in the camp in the past, and would be under her supervision. The officer again advised her she shouldn’t bring children to the camp.

“Connie explained it was good for children to see how other people have to live, and turned to walk into the camp” said Bossley at the event, retelling the incident.

She said the interaction was negative enough to upset Connie and camp residents who overheard it.

Bossley scoffed at the statement that there are needles everywhere at the camp, and clarified children are not allowed to live at the camp, but can visit under the supervision of a guardian.

“We are here tonight, to fight back against the discrimination our un-housed neighbours at Anita Place City… are subjected to on a daily basis, not only by residents, but by the very people who are tasked with serving and protecting them,” Bossley said.

Among those who attended were Corrie Bogaert of Douglas College who brought a truckload of warm clothing from her psychiatric nursing class.

“The other day I was walking in the rain and I got really cold feet, and I thought ‘there are people living here who are always cold.’”

Will Hartman, who lives in the neighbourhood, said he simply came to show his support.

“I want to see a good result, for people who are here,” he said. “I’m hoping we get some decent housing and services for these folks, in this community. I think it’s long past time for that to happen.”

Colene Thompson came with donations from the Community Network.

“We filled Christmas bags with socks, hand warmers, there’s some goodies in there… really festive,” she said. “My whole trunk is full – 60 bags in there.”

She also gets three loaves of bread and three dozen eggs every week, and brings down egg salad sandwiches.

“These are my neighbours,” said John McKenzie. “I have never had any problem with the homeless. People have so much attitude toward them, I tell them come down and talk to them. They’re real people. They might be struggling right now, but they’re decent people, and they’re your neighbours. Don’t ostracize them or marginalize them.”

Homeless residents, including camp spokesperson Tracy Scott, said the residents appreciated the Christmas event and donations, and some joined in the carolling.

BC Housing and the City of Maple Ridge have been in discussion about a place for modular housing for the camp residents.

Just Posted

Maple Ridge group saving and finding people for 50 years

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue celebrates Saturday

Breakout season for senior men’s baseball squad

Maple Ridge Royals win Senior AA provincial title

City puts moratorium on pot-growing applications

Maple Ridge will regulate growing and processing on ALR properties

Maple Ridge musician finds inspiration in Thailand

Bob Westfall has recorded many songs and music videos in Asia

Super 30 screening at ACT in Maple Ridge

Movie is based on international best-selling book by Maple Ridge doctor

Yearbook photo surfaces of Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ costume in 2001

The report describes the occasion as an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed gala event

‘We still did not get answers’: Vancouver parents demand expulsion after students’ racist video

‘We were unable to get confirmation from the VSB, but he hasn’t returned as of yet,’ says Marie Tate

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

‘What goes up will come down’: Gas prices spike in Metro Vancouver

Petroleum analyst Dan McTeague says prices will fall Thursday

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Most Read