The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction office has been heavily damaged. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction office has been heavily damaged. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge welfare office heavily damaged after weekend incident

Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction office closed until the end of week

Clients needing to pick up cheques or drop off documents at the welfare office in Maple Ridge were out of luck Monday morning after discovering the building was behind yellow tape and badly damaged after an incident sometime over the weekend.

The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction confirmed to The News there was a motor vehicle incident on Sunday, Jan. 8, and due to the damage that was caused to the building, the office will be closed until further notice.

Ridge Meadows RCMP have not confirmed what happened, but people were commenting online about the crash that took out a city garbage bin, a tree, and damaged the government office in the 22500 block of Lougheed Highway.

Tim Sawatzky, who lives behind the Dairy Queen heard the crash just after 3:10 a.m.. When he looked towards Lougheed Highway, he could see reflected in the Scotiabank’s windows across the street that a smaller, blue pickup truck had crashed into the building. Then, he said, the truck took off west along Lougheed Highway, possibly with the vehicle’s back tire off. He said sparks were flying.

“Sounded like he had to reverse and then try and take off again before waiting for a passing car to go by,” he said.

Sawatzky noted the road was quiet when the crash happened, with only two cars passing at that moment.

Minutes later he saw one RCMP vehicle drive westbound along Lougheed Highway, and another three heading eastbound.

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It is not clear if there were any injuries in the crash.

Maple Ridge fire chief Michael Van Dop did not have a record of firefighters responding to a crash at the building.

For now the office remains closed. A sign on the front door is advising clients the office will be shut until the end of the week – Friday, Jan. 13.

“Anyone who urgently needs to speak to one of our staff or otherwise needs assistance relating to Income Assistance or Disability Assistance can connect with staff by accessing MySelfServe.gov.bc.ca or by calling 1 866 866-0800. For in-person assistance, people are encouraged to visit a ministry office in Mission or Tri-Cities,” advised the Ministry, noting that any questions relating to the motor vehicle incident should be directed to the local police.

Anyone needing to pick up a cheque or drop off documents can do so at Maple Ridge Community Corrections at 11996 Edge St. A community service worker will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Tuesday, Jan. 10, to Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Salvation Army Peer Hub.

Those who require in-person service are being asked to go to the office in Port Coquitlam at unit B100-2099 Lougheed Hwy., or to phone 1-866-866-0800 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

For more information about Ministry locations go to www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/income-assistance/access-services#lowermainland.

The News has reached out to the Ridge Meadows RCMP.


Is there more to the story? Email: cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

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