Ahmed Yousef and a group called the Burnett Street Neighbours collected names for a petition opposing the homeless shelter on their street at the Ridge Meadows Home Show in May last year. Yousef said the petition now has more than 10,000 names. (THE NEWS/files)

Rally Saturday to oppose Burnett Street housing

Maple Ridge councillor hopes Victoria hears residents

A rally is planned for Saturday opposing the addition of more low-barrier housing for the homeless in Maple Ridge.

Rally for Ridge will be held from 1-3 p.m. in Memorial Peace Park.

According to the event page on Facebook, the rally is to oppose low-barrier supportive housing, which allows residents to use drugs.

“We want a safe community. Come show your support at this peaceful and family friendly event,” said the event page, which lists Cassandra Alford as the organizer.

“Maple Ridge says no more low barrier.”

The province announced last week that it will be installing 51 modular housing units at 11749 Burnett Street, the same sight rejected by council last year after residents protested and started a petition that organizers claim has 10,000 names.

Maple Ridge Coun. Ahmed Yousef said he hopes to see strong support at the rally.

“It’s the community speaking out,” he said. “It’s very clear Victoria is not listening to the elected officials in Maple Ridge. Maybe they will listen to the people.”

He said the modular housing is being placed in beside a retirement home and near Golden Ears elementary, as well as Thomas Haney secondary. For those reasons, Yousef feels the site should be rejected.

He also opposes the province acting unilaterally to establish modular housing for the second time in Maple Ridge.

“This is what all of us ought to speak out against.”

B.C. Housing will hold public information sessions to give residents the opportunity to learn more about the supportive housing development, the construction timeline and to provide feedback, said Melanie Kilpatrick, with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

She said B.C. Housing is in the process of confirming dates and formats for the information sessions.

B.C. Housing estimates it will take approximately five months to complete construction of the modular units on Burnett St.

Construction will begin in early April with site preparation and clearing, followed by excavation for the foundation. which will begin at the end of next month.

Modular contractor Horizon North will begin in-factory fabrication of the modular units in April and expects them to be craned to the site beginning in mid-June.



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