Security remains at Anita Place Tent City. (THE NEWS/files)

Maple Ridge council votes to expand temporary modular housing

Wants housing for seniors on Burnett Street as part of social housing plan

Maple Ridge council voted at its workshop meeting Tuesday to ask the provincial government to expand temporary modular housing on Royal Crescent.

Council was following up on the provincial government’s order to come up with a social housing plan, which was originally set for Friday but extended a few days.

The plan, presented Tuesday afternoon in advance of council’s regular meeting, does not include a location for a permanent supportive housing facility.

Instead, it asks the provincial government for help in creating a “made-in-Maple Ridge” model, along with finding a place to locate a permanent facility.

The plan asks B.C. Housing and Fraser Health to come up with a permanent supportive housing model that will follow an abstinence-based approach, with the operator to be approved by the city.

Site selection would include a “full public process,” in collaboration with Maple Ridge.

The plan also calls for expanding the temporary modular housing complex on Royal Crescent, to accommodate people from Anita Place Tent City.

Maple Ridge council then wants to convert the Royal Crescent location to affordable housing, once a supportive housing facility is operating, at a location to be determined.

It also wants fencing and lighting to be installed around the temporary modular housing facility.

The number of additional temporary units is yet to be determined, but it will be based on the number of verified residents at Anita Place Tent City on 23rd Street, council heard.

Coun. Kiersten Duncan wanted a clearer definition of an abstinence-based supportive housing complex. She asked if one would include methadone or suboxone or other medication prescribed by a doctor?

“What abstinence looks like to council, from the discussions I’ve heard around the table, is that we don’t want illegal substances used within the facility,” Mayor Michael Morden said.

Furthermore, the city wants the two lots at 11749 and 11761 Burnett St., formerly the proposed site for an 85-unit supportive housing and shelter complex, to be allocated for seniors housing.

Maple Ridge created the social housing plan after being given a deadline of the previous Friday by Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson.

According to a city staff report, there are more than 300 emergency shelter beds, extreme weather response beds, supportive and transitional housing units, as well as scattered housing units in Maple Ridge.

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