MLA wants Maple Ridge washrooms unlocked

But access is available, just ask for key, department says

Michael Sather is the NDP MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows.

Go to bathroom before visiting the income assistance office on Lougheed Highway in downtown Maple Ridge because the public washrooms in that building are locked.

That bothers MLA Michael Sather.

“It’s totally ridiculous. I can’t believe it,” Sather said last week.

“It’s a human rights kind of issue.”

Sather, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, said he’s received a few complaints, though not as many as he’d expect, after the department closed the bathroom to the public about a year ago.

That can mean people waiting in line lose their place if they have to leave the building and find a bathroom elsewhere.

He said he can only conclude that lack of resources means staff just can’t supervise well enough to prevent the facility from being used for drug use.

Instead, known trouble-makers could be barred from the washroom.

“But to make everybody else suffers doesn’t seem right.”

For him, it’s a sign of an under-funded department that can’t afford the staff to adequately supervise the office where people apply for income assistance.

One complaint came from a mom with two young children, Sather said.

He raised the issue in the legislature last week, asking Social Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux why the office closed the bathroom.

“The B.C. Building Code requires that public service buildings provide washrooms, yet the washrooms at the Maple Ridge office have been closed to the clients for a year,” he said in the legislature.

It’s only under “exceptional circumstances” when bathrooms aren’t available, said the ministry.

In the Maple Ridge office, the bathroom is locked, but the key is available by asking the security guard or staff.

“This practice was put into place due to safety concerns, as well as due to frequent vandalism-related repairs and cleaning that was required to maintain the washroom,” said the ministry.

Security guards or staff can also keep the person’s place in line. The department also said one complaint was made while the washroom was closed for renovations.

Clients also are sometimes to directed to other washrooms.

Just Posted

CP Rail Holiday Train brings rolling concert to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Concerts benefit Christmas charities for 20th year

‘Maple Ridge should rethink wider 240th Street’

Resident says four lanes will ruin neighbourhood

Ridge performers act in The Odd Couple production

Sara Zaitsoff plays the role of Sylvie, and Angela Bell stars as Olive Madison.

Skate club synchro teams medal in Aldergrove

Ice Symmetrix teams bring home four medals

Letter: Traffic on 240th, going forward

‘We do not need another highway.’

VIDEO: Goalie scores as Flames sink Whalers

Paul Tucek pots empty-netter, then fights break out.

Publication ban on name of girl killed in Abbotsford school lifted

Reimer’s family had supported an application by Black Press to lift ban

B.C. securities regulator probes ‘most expansive’ alleged trading scheme in its history

Liht Cannabis Corp states it’s doing internal investigation, welcomes BC Securities Commission probe

Air passenger rights: 6 things about what the Liberals are offering

For 3- to 6-hour delays, compensation is $400. Between 6 and 9 hours, $700. Over 9 hours is $1,000

RCMP, civilian vehicles rammed in North Okanagan incident

Police attempt to stop truck near Enderby, thought to be tied to alleged Salmon Arm armed robbery

Watchdog called after man says Coquitlam cop shut car door on his leg

The Independent Investigations Office is probing an incident that occurred in Coquitlam last weekend

New biker gang with ties to Hells Angels crops up in Lower Mainland

The Street Reapers were formed late last year and have been seen in Fort Langley.

10-lane George Massey bridge too big, B.C. study says

Consultants say replacement tunnel cost similar to new bridge

Couple caught up in B.C. Legislature bomb plot to learn their fate

John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were arrested as part of an undercover RCMP sting on Canada Day 2013

Most Read