Anita Place homeless camp. (Tim Fitzgerald/THE NEWS)

Maple Ridge business owners feel threatened by homeless

Appear at Maple Ridge council to complain about Anita Place.

Maple Ridge businesses are increasingly frustrated with the Anita Place Tent City, and at least one businessman told council he fears for the safety of his staff and his customers.

Home Hardware owner Scott O’Dell said during question period on Oct. 10 that his store has been “seriously affected.”

“I can’t stay quiet any longer,” he said.

“It is becoming a threat to us. I get physically threatened two or three times per week. I try to keep my staff safe, so I am always the one who is confronting. I’m concerned about taking days off work now,” he said. “When people are trying to steal from me, and I ask them to leave, I am being physically threatened.”

Has called police, but said his complaints have not resulted in arrests.

“I’ve been threatened, do something about it,” he said, adding “when somebody pulls out a knife or calls you outside, it’s not a vague threat.”

He told council one of his customers was ready to intervene on his behalf after witnessing a confrontation between the business owner an a homeless man, who said would use a hammer as a weapon.

“I’m worried someone is going to get hurt,” said O’Dell.

Mayor Nicole Read said the threats are concerning and she will follow up with police, but would not speak for Ridge Meadows RCMP.

Another business owner, Mark Lancaster of North Fraser Automotive, said the city owns the park land the camp is on, and allows it to remain there.

“For me, it’s like a bunch of terrorists that live down the street and terrorize me every day, and the whole neighbourhood, and people and other businesses in the area,” said Lancaster.

“It is a huge hindrance to me, to my business.”

He asked why the city did not pursue an injunction to have the camp moved.

Read said council is proceeding according to the best available advice, to get the camp removed as quickly as possible.

“This is not a real homeless camp, this is a protest,” said Lancaster.

Read agreed.

Dennis Wager, who lives on 117th Avenue, near the camp, said he has been “very extremely” impacted by it, including a loud overdose incident in front of his house at 3 a.m.

“Feeling uneasy all the time. It’s not a peaceful neighbourhood, like it used to be,” said Wager.

He asked what the city can do, and suggest a security guard be posted near the camp.

Read responded the city would raise the issue of funding for a security guard with B.C. Housing. She added that police are patrolling the area, and do respond to public complaints.

Ahmed Yousef, who wanted to lead a delegation of business owners to appear before council to discuss their complaints, said he was being discouraged from doing so.

He asked “whether council is aware that North Fraser Auto, joined by several other businesses, is being thwarted in their attempt to appear as a delegation before council.”

Yousef said he had been working with Lancaster since Sept. 6, trying to appear before council, about “the truth of the downtown business experience in dealing with the tent city and crime, violence, vandalism, theft, death threats intimidation and massive costs related to dealing with the addicted homeless.”

He said on Sept. 28 that Read advised him to forego the delegation, saying the camp is a provincial issue, and that bringing it to council would be inflammatory and divisive.

He was later asked by staff to provide his speaking notes, and city staff wanted to review and discuss the presentation and materials before the meeting, which he called sensorship.

“The challenge that we face as a council is the community appeals to us for a solution,” responded Read. “Council is appealing to the province for a solution. I’ve told you that we are in dialogue with the province, that our expectation is that the province does something to resolve the camp, that the MLAs are involved, and that they need to be engaged.”

She said city staff and RCMP have been in touch with Lancaster about his concerns.

“There’s no question there are challenges in the area,” said Read.

She suggested a meeting between business owners, city representatives and MLAs.

“That is a functional way for us to actually work together to drive a solution in the interim, while we await the closure of the camp,” said Read.

The mayor said she did not ask staff to discourage the delegation.

Staff responded council was facing a full agenda, and wanted to put off the delegation until Oct. 24.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Anita Place homeless camp. (Tim Fitzgerald/THE NEWS)

Just Posted

There is a case of COVID-19 at Baillie House, located on the grounds of Ridge Meadows Hospital. (Google)
COVID-19 case at Baillie House in Maple Ridge

Seniors facility at Ridge Meadows Hospital one of five with new cases in region

Curtis Sagmoen
Public warning issued to North Okanagan sex trade workers

RCMP warns workers to stay away from Salmon River Road area

The Ridge Meadows Flames were able to put their jerseys on and face opposition for the first time since COVID hit. (Facebook)
Flames wrangle with whalers in first exhibition game of 20/21 season

Maple Ridge Junior B squad fell to the White Rock team 5-3 on Sunday

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Another school in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows has COVID-19 exposure

Three school exposure events announced in last two days

Maple Ridge Bears posted “big bear hugs” to everyone who has worked toward better co-existence this year. (Facebook)
Ten fewer bears have been shot in Maple Ridge

Conservation group celebrating success this year

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read