Dalene Lazarenko holds up a sign during a protest rally in front of The Pantry on Saturday.

Dalene Lazarenko holds up a sign during a protest rally in front of The Pantry on Saturday.

Maple Ridge residents rally against supportive housing at Quality Inn

Closde to 700 people attend; petition has more than 4,500 signatures.

MLA Doug Bing sent a message to those at a rally Saturday against a proposal for supportive housing at the Quality Inn in Maple Ridge, that he’s against it.

Cheryl Ashlie, one of Bing’s constituency assistants and a former Maple Ridge councillor, attended the rally on his behalf.

“He stands with you in opposing this site,” Ashlie said to the 700 or so people crowded around a stage in the parking lot on the west side of The Pantry, adjoined to the Quality Inn since it was built in the 1980s.

It is one of only two motels in Maple Ridge.

B.C. Housing announced March 10 that it has offered $5.5 million to buy the Quality Inn, on Lougheed Highway at 217th Street, for conversion into a 61-unit long-term supportive housing facility.

B.C. Housing would then move in the 40 people remaining at the temporary homeless shelter in downtown Maple Ridge. It was only supposed to be open from October to March to allow the city to clear out the Cliff Avenue homeless camp.

B.C. Housing is to provide another $270,000 to keep the shelter open for three more months while the motel would be renovated.

Since the announcement, several online petitions have started in opposition to the Quality Inn as a location for supportive housing.

At a special meeting Wednesday, Maple Ridge council put the project on hold until B.C. Housing announced a date for a public consultation meeting – which has since been announced as March 29 – and local MLAs Marc Dalton and Bing confirm their support for the location.

Ashlie said Bing was surprised by his government’s plan to convert the Quality Inn to supportive housing. Such models may work in other communities, she added, but not in Maple Ridge.

She said that it is Maple Ridge council’s decision where supportive housing should go, not the MLAs.

Judy Dueck, another former Maple Ridge councillor, also spoke at the rally, which was attended by former Maple Ridge mayor Ernie Daykin and Mike Morden, another former councillor and mayoral candidate.

Dueck, standing on stage, asked whether council approached B.C. Housing about the location or if it was the opposite? She also questioned how RainCity was chosen to be the operator before the public has even been consulted. She thinks the operator contract should be tendered, that a needs assessment for the proposed facility needs to be conducted, as well as more public consultation.

She said, to loud applause, council needs to stop moving forward with the supportive housing project until more answers are provided.

Morden also opposes the location.

“People will lose their jobs,” he said.

The local chamber of commerce, of which Morden is president, conducted a survey among member businesses last week about the project. He said they don’t support the location, either.

Organizers of the rally have collected more than 4,500 signatures for their petition against the location, fearing the low-barrier model would bring open drug use to the neighborhood.

Ronald Rogers held up a sign reading “What about jobs?” along the highway, soliciting a stream of honks from passing motorists.

“I think people definitely need help, but they are not going to get it here,” he said. “They need treatment.”

Matt Kelso, who was emcee of the rally, sang a protest song.

“We don’t want this shelter, or lose our hotel. We don’t want low barrier, it will ruin our town … “

Jesse Stretch, wearing a black “Ridgelantes” shirt as part of the rally organizing group, asked the crowd where Mayor Nicole Read was?

“Hiding,” he said, adding that the decision of where to place supportive housing rests with council.

“I’m not against the homeless. I’m against homelessness,” said Stretch, a mechanic who formed the “Ridgelantes” community group that started picking up discarded needles around Maple Ridge because Fraser Health would not.

Since January, he said, there have been 132 overdose deaths in B.C.

“So much for low barrier housing.”

Stretch asked those in attendance if they wanted low barrier housing in Maple Ridge, to which they responded with a resounding “no.”

He dropped the microphone and hopped off the stage.

He returned to ask the crowd to support local businesses.

“Fill up the inn so they can’t get in,” shouted one supporter.


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

Just Posted

Gordy Robson. (Contributed)
The intersection at Harris Road and Lougheed Highway (Google)
LETTER: Pitt Meadows resident wonders why traffic signals not updated

A local man has contacted the city and road contractor with concerns to no avail

The BCJALL draft was held on Thursday evening.
Maple Ridge’s Malawsky picked first overall in BCJALL draft

Burrards midgets again dominate the Junior A midget draft

About 150 guests attended the 16th annual Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. (The News files)
Parker Kaumi, 6, and his mother, Lauren, baked cookies to raise money for the Canucks Autism Network. (Chris Kaumi/Special to The News)
Maple Ridge mother and son bake cookies for Canucks Autism Network

Raise $1,200 for the organization that offers activities and programs to children and youth with autism

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read