Temporary supportive housing is planned for 11749 Burnett St., followed by seniors’ housing, once a permanent location for supportive housing is found. (files)

Have your say about temporary homes on Burnett

Eight meetings set in Maple Ridge

After an April 15 YouTube question-and-answer session on temporary supportive housing for Burnett Street, B.C. Housing is starting the second step of consultation on the project.

It consists of small, group discussions, with no more than 25 people, scheduled between May 11 and May 25. The locations of those meetings haven’t been made public.

B.C. Housing has followed the same format for its projects in Richmond, Langley, Nanaimo and Kelowna, said spokesperson Laura Matthews.

“We intentionally kept each information session small, because from our past experience, these settings allow for a more personal and engaging conversation, where participants feel more comfortable providing their questions and feedback, whereas much larger group settings can be intimidating for many,” Matthews added.

Each session is 90 minutes and will include a brief presentation from B.C. Housing, Fraser Health and Coast Mental Health. Most of the time will be for the public to ask questions and provide feedback.

Wesley Mann, with Burnett Street Neighbours, which opposes the project, has signed up for one of the meetings. However, he said B.C. Housing is doing the minimum to fulfill its consultation requirements. And he still doesn’t know the location for the meeting.

“This is not consultation. This is information. People want to be heard. They want to have an impact and it’s not happening,” Mann said.

He said the format will reduce the number of people who can give input compared to those who turned out at last year’s open houses, when a supportive housing and shelter to be run by the Salvation Army was proposed for the same location on Burnett Street, only to be defeated at first reading by the previous city council.

Even last spring’s open houses were just a means of B.C. Housing presenting its case, he added.

He said B.C. Housing would need to have more of the small, group meetings in order to reach the same number of people who showed up last year.

Mann, though, said he plans on joining the citizens’ advisory committee for the supportive housing complex, which will address issues raised by the neighbourhood.

“This is my community. I live in it and I don’t intend to stop being part of it just because of this, right? We’ll carry on with whatever it is we get and try to be part of the solution.”

Only people who have registered in advance can attend the meetings. Dates for the meetings are Saturday, May 11, Monday, May 13, Tuesday, May 14, Friday, May 17, Tuesday, May 21, Thursday, May 23, Friday, May 24 and Saturday, May 25. Times are available on the B.C. Housing website.

To participate, advance registration is required by e-mailing: communityrelations@bchousing.org. People are also asked to confirm second and third choices of dates to attend. After, B.C. Housing will confirm dates and locations.

B.C. Housing is building 51 units of temporary supportive housing at 11749 Burnett St. for the residents of Anita Place Tent City and other homeless people, without seeking Maple Ridge city council approval and with most of council opposed to the project.

In October 2018, B.C. Housing opened 53 units of temporary supportive housing in the 22500-block Royal Crescent.

Both are run by Coast Mental Health.

Site preparation work is underway on Burnett Street and Horizon North has begun in-factory construction of the modular homes, said the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.


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