Minister frustrated by housing issue in Maple Ridge

Comments at opening of housing in Vancouver

The Minister Municipal Affairs and Housing is saying she’s frustrated with the issue of homelessness and housing in Maple Ridge.

Selina Robinson made the comments at the opening of a supportive housing facility in Vancouver on Sunday, after the evacuation on the weekend of Anita Place Tent City, on 223rd Street in Maple Ridge, following three fires.

She said the province has proposed previous projects in Maple Ridge, but none has progressed.

Robinson was among five cabinet ministers who met Maple Ridge Mayor Michael Morden and staff last week in Victoria. Morden had asked the province for continued commitment to spending $60 million on housing projects in the city. Morden is also seeking more assistance to help with the costs associated with Anita Place Tent City.

People from tent city were directed to the former mattress shop on Lougheed Highway on 222nd Street for emergency housing.

About 15 people were staying there on the weekend.

However, it’s not clear what projects comprise the city’s figure.

The province has committed to spending $11 million on the 94-unit affordable housing complex on 119th Avenue, which will be run by Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services.

The province has also said that it will pay $15 million for a new supportive housing complex and shelter after an 85-unit complex was proposed last year and rejected by the previous council, after much public protest.

The province has since told council that it’s up to the city to find a location for that complex.

In the meantime, B.C. Housing opened the 53-unit temporary modular home facility on Royal Crescent last October without seeking city approval.

Three locations in Maple Ridge have now been rejected for such a facility: the Quality Inn, in March 2016; 21375 Lougheed Highway, in December 2016; and Burnett Street last June.

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