Rally planned against homeless camp. (THE NEWS/files)                                Rally planned against homeless camp. (THE NEWS/files)

Rally planned against homeless camp. (THE NEWS/files) Rally planned against homeless camp. (THE NEWS/files)

Rally against homeless camp set for Maple Ridge

Planned for outside MLA’s office

After calling the city’s decision to back away from its court injunction to clear Maple Ridge’s tent city a “slap in the face” to residents, Ahmed Yousef has now called for a rally on the issue.

That will take place Sunday, Dec. 10 at noon in front of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare’s office on Lougheed Highway.

Yousef is calling for the peaceful rally, “to demonstrate that we will no longer stand idle while our city becomes a warehouse for addicts,” he said.

In October, he led a delegation of businesses and residents that spoke to Maple Ridge council about the effects of the Anita Place Tent City that opened in the downtown this spring.

“We will show unity and let our voices be heard by our elected officials, some of whom will be present. This will be our opportunity to stand for our community against those who have created divisions within our beloved Maple Ridge.”

Council made an agreement earlier this week with lawyers for the tent city to suspend an injunction to clear the camp. In return, B.C. Housing will ensure camp residents have fireproof materials, other fire safety issues will be addressed, and provide washrooms.

According to a city news release, previous court decisions show that judges are reluctant to order a tent city to be disbanded if there’s no place for people to go. All shelters in Maple Ridge are full, it adds.

B.C. Housing is also seeking a location in Maple Ridge for temporary modular housing.

Yousef made the announcement on Facebook, prompting Bob Goos to comment that the rally seems to be “a direct effort to deepen the divisions that have appeared in out beloved Maple Ridge. If you sincerely cared about Maple Ridge you would foster reconciliation and unity rather than division!”

It’s not yet clear exactly what goals the rally will promote.

Mayor Nicole Read said Thursday there’s no evidence that more people have arrived at Anita Place Tent City from outside Maple Ridge in order to be considered for any new housing units.