B.C. Housing proposed the Burnett Street location last year. (THE NEWS/files)

UPDATE: Province putting temporary modular housing on Burnett Street

Expected to take five months, will work with city on solution to homeless camp.

The provincial government is going ahead and building another 51 temporary supportive modular homes on property it owns at 11749 Burnett St., the same site rejected last year by Maple Ridge council.

The units and a medical room will provide space for the 47 people who are homeless and, until recently, were residing at Anita Place Tent City, according to B.C. Housing and community partners.

“Our goal is to quickly get people into housing where they can get the help and support they’ve long been needing, while working to close the camp in a managed way,” Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said in a release Wednesday.

Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden was not pleased with the province’s decision, as council passed the city’s social housing plan last week – after Robinson issued a deadline – and included a recommendation to expand the current modular housing development on Royal Crescent.

“We understand that the province has the jurisdiction to act unilaterally,” Morden said.

He had hoped that meeting with cabinet ministers on Feb. 25, along with the social housing plan would satisfy the province.

Coast Mental Health will be operate the new building, providing 24-hour supports for residents who will have self-contained suites with washrooms and kitchenettes.

Coast Mental Health also operates the temporary modular housing on Royal Crescent, which opened last fall.

Fraser Health will provide clinical support services at the new site. Other supports will include counselling, life skills and employment programming, as well as daily meals.

“We look forward to collaborating with the province and the City of Maple Ridge to ensure the design and operations of the Burnett site meet the needs of the community,” said Darrell Burnham, CEO, Coast Mental Health.

“As the operator of two supportive housing sites in Maple Ridge, we recognize the importance in building homes with support services that encourage healthy and inclusive communities.”

Robinson said the benefits of providing housing will extend into the community to the neighbours, businesses, first responders “and everyone impacted by the camp.”

B.C. estimates it will take five months to complete the new building, with construction beginning in April.

Robinson has written to Maple Ridge council to ask city staff to work with B.C. Housing staff to determine how best to support homeless people in the community until the housing can be completed.

B.C. Housing will also keep the evacuation shelter at 22239 Lougheed Highway open until the end of the lease on March 31, to allow time for such discussions.

”We need to put in place a plan to support these people until the homes can be completed,” said Robinson. “Without a plan, we risk leaving desperate people no choice but to create another tent city or to scatter throughout the community, neither of which is in the best interests of either the campers or the community of Maple Ridge as a whole.”

Robinson said B.C. Housing, in keeping with the city’s social housing plan, will work with on the design of new affordable seniors’ housing for the Burnett site, so that construction can proceed as soon as a permanent home for the supportive housing units has been found.

Maple Ridge council rejected a proposal for an 85-unit supportive housing and shelter at the Burnett site last May before first reading, after residents protested and started a petition.

“This is an outrage,” Wesley Mann, with Burnett Street Neighbours, said of this week’s decision.

“We have 10,000 signatures, our MLAs refuse to meet with us to see them.”

The group collected the petition last year when it was opposing B.C. Housing’s plan for an 85-unit supportive housing and shelter at the same location.

“We changed our municipal government. We’ll change our provincial one,” he added.

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

 

Comments are closed

Just Posted

8-year-old Maple Ridge actor up for pair of national awards

Bentley Storteboom is nominated for Joey awards in commercial and film acting

Thanksgiving food drive nets new record for Maple Ridge food bank

More than 15,000 pounds, (6,800 kilograms), collected

Riders slow in returning to West Coast Express

TransLink bus ridership at 43 per cent of pre-COVID levels

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 27

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Racist, homophobic graffiti prominent in downtown Maple Ridge

City councillors up late removing hateful message

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

Another death as COVID-19 outbreak at Delta Hospital climbs to 18 cases

Total of 12 patients and six staff in one unit have tested positive for COVID-19: Fraser Health

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Most Read