RCMP officers were on Cliff Avenue on Wednesday as residents of the homeless camp cleaned the street in preparation of it being dismantled.

Cliff Ave. homeless camp clean-up begins

New City of Maple Ridge shelter opens.

The temporary shelter for the homeless opened its doors Thursday, and with that began the clean up of the Cliff Avenue camp.

Police, bylaws and cleanup crews were already on site Wednesday, trying to disentangle tarps and poles, tents, furniture and bicycle wheels, and hundreds of plastic bags.

“We have every hope that they’ll move to the shelter, that’s what it’s there for,” said Ridge Meadows RCMP Sgt. Casey Baker.

The RCMP have a good working relationship with the camp residents and the goal will be to help them move over to the shelter on Lougheed Highway, kitty corner from the camp, with as much dignity as possible, Baker said.

The process will be a gradual one that will take days.

The area occupied by one tent that had already been removed had enough materials to fill at least a pickup truck.

City officials say that most campers want to move to the shelter, but early in the morning someone posted on Facebook a picture of a sign saying residents wouldn’t leave without an injunction.

That would require the city to go to Supreme Court to get a court order allowing police to remove people from the area.

But that won’t happen unless campers refuse to leave.

At the city shelter, in the former Sleep Shop next to the KFC, RainCity Housing staff were preparing for the influx and expected the 40 beds to be full by the end of the day Thursday.

“We’ll be working really closely with outreach teams,” said assistant manager Alisha Bold-de-Haughton.

When people arrive, they’ll be interviewed and asked for their recent housing history. Nurses will be on site twice a week and there will be mental health services.

Bold-de-Haughton said she and manager Darlene Boulette have done this a long time and it’s their area of speciality.

However, there is minimal storage on site for residents’ property. The City of Maple Ridge will provide some off-site storage space for possessions.

Outside the shelter, in a fenced-off, screened area, there’s an outdoor smoking area.

One resident wondered if the area was the minimum 7.5 metres away from the nearest doorway or window, as required by the city’s new smoking bylaw.

But that was checked when the shelter was being prepared.

“I believe that it is within the bylaw restrictions,” said Bold-de-Haughton.

City bylaws were in the process of rechecking Thursday to see if it complies.

The shelter will be open 24/7, allowing residents to stay inside and not kicking them on to the streets every day.

It will close in April, after the six-month period. The city has yet to determine what happens after that.

Coun. Craig Speirs said clearing Cliff Avenue will give relief to the homeowners there who’ve put up with the camp since May.

“Everybody is an individual. Everybody has rights.”

He added the death of camp resident Anita Hauck last Sunday after being stuck in a clothing bin has sent a ripple through the entire community.

“That’s been terrible.”

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Katzie paddled together in honour of a fallen family member

More than 30 members of the Katzie First Nation reserve took part in the canoeing event

Money in to finish Lougheed Highway twinning

Feds announce $29 million to complete four laning of four-kilometre stretch in Maple Ridge

Campers expect 100 per cent online reservations at Golden Ears next season

Maple Ridge group has been fighting to keep drive in bookings

Maple Ridge council will be asked to declare climate emergency

Vancouver, London and Los Angeles have already done so

Pitt Meadows seeks partners in flood protection

$100 million in work needed to improve dike system

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Former Fernie Ghostrider re-signs with Vancouver Canucks

Josh Teves has signed a two-year contract with the NHL team

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

Injured fawn at B.C. vet will be euthanized Friday night unless claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer is currently being treated at West Kelowna’s Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Most Read