A lineup quickly formed as people signed up as volunteers for a recall campaign for both local NDP MLAs following a second Rally for Ridge in Memorial Peace Park on Sunday.
Hundreds attended the rally to object to the provincial government’s plan to put temporary supportive housing on Burnett Street this spring.
B.C. Housing recently announced construction of 51 temporary supportive housing units, with support services, intended for residents of Anita Place Tent City, with construction starting in a few weeks, at 11749 Burnett St.
Speakers at the second rally took to the stage to denounce low-barrier housing, with the crowd chanting “our city, our choice” throughout the event.
Ed Lineham, who lives at Royal Crescent Gardens, and whose apartment overlooks the front entrance and parking lot of the modular housing there, talked about what he sees and hears outside the facility daily. He said emergency vehicles frequently attend the facility.
“We constantly see residents smoking and often injecting drugs. We’ve also seen drug dealing take place in the parking lot of the building. We also regularly [see] residents out there who are obviously very high and acting out with exaggerated movements and being very loud and yelling to nobody,” Lineham said.
“Don’t you think they should control what happens on that property,” he said of facility staff.
Just before making a call to the Premier John Horgan’s office, Jamie Seip, event host, informed the crowd of the recall campaign volunteer list.
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare wasn’t surprised about the intended recall campaign, but said that she and Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith had countless supporters come up at Earth Day and thank them.
“That’s absolutely their democratic right,” Beare said of the recall campaign.
“Obviously there are some people who just don’t agree with supportive housing being placed in the community, but there are a large, large number of citizens who have contacted us who do support us.”
Beare also said that modular facilities such as Royal Crescent and the one proposed for Burnett St. have good-neighbour agreements and committees to address area concerns.
“We would encourage continued dialogue with the facility and with the actual good neighbours group to ensure that the needs of the community are being met,” she said of Royal Crescent.”
Beare wants the conversation to start moving towards the permanent use of the Burnett St. site, which is to be for low-income seniors.
The Alliance Against Displacement held a “Homes Not Hate” rally near Anita Place Tent City at the same time as the one in the park and temporarily blocked traffic along Lougheed Highway at 223rd Street.