Maple Ridge council aims to help tenants, single mothers

Last week, council approved several resolutions for the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

Maple Ridge council has a half dozen ways to make the world a better place. Next it will see if anyone cares.

Last week, council approved several resolutions for the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

One is to ask the provincial government to review the Residential Tenancy Act. The preamble pointed out that landlords still have trouble evicting problem tenants – while tenants or renters are also taken advantage of by landlords.

Council also wants to make things a bit less cushy for the home-furnishings industry by asking the provincial government to require deposits on mattresses, so there’s an incentive to recycle rather than dump them.

Council also approved four other requests from the social planning advisory committee, including a call for the provincial government to regulate the party bus industry.

Restaurant and bar operators also are asking for party bus rules, and a report from the social planning advisory committee notes that California last year passed a bill requiring adult chaperones to ride on such buses.

The report also says that drinking during teen years can affect memory and thinking and upset the normal development of bones, organs and muscles.

“The party bus industry and government need to work together to ensure that standards and regulations protect young people and the community at large.”

Maple Ridge resident Julie Raymond and daughter Danielle visited the legislature earlier this year because the New Democrat opposition has taken on their cause.

Raymond, whose  daughter Shannon died on July 26, 2008 after taking two ecstasy pills and drinking alcohol during a birthday party for a friend on a party bus. She was 16.

Vancouver-Fairview NDP MLA George Heyman has asked Transportation Minister Todd Stone to commit to regulating party buses before another senseless tragedy occurs.

But Stone said new regulations are not the answer, that operators just have to follow the rules.

The social planning committee also suggested that UBCM ask the province to set up “sobering centres” around B.C. The centres can also help reduce the number of visits to emergency departments as well as the number of police calls.

A final council resolution asks the provincial government to stop clawing back child support payments for single mothers on income assistance, so that mothers can keep up to $300 in child support.

The social planning advisory committee noted that the base rate in income assistance is $945 a month for a mother and child. Currently, that amount is reduced by the amount received in child support.

“Families receive minimal support for their children via the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, yet this ministry deducts child support payments from the benefit it pays out,” says the committee.

It added that families receive most of their support for children from the National Child Tax Benefit.