Residents take to the streets against homeless camp

People stress, they're not vigilantes, just tired of crime and needles

Concerned residents walk from Memorial Peace Park to just outside Cliff Avenue homeless camp Saturday.

If anyone showed up at Maple Ridge Rally For Community Safety on Saturday wanting to vent their anger on people in the camp at Cliff Avenue, they were quickly informed.

No one is here to attack anyone, Jesse Stretch told the crowd. Take your pitchforks home.

Stretch was one of the organizers of the rally that began at Memorial Peace Park and ended outside the homeless camp on Cliff Avenue and 222nd Street.

“A lot of people think we’re anti-homeless, anti poverty,” said Brett Watts.

“We’re just pro community.”

What bothers a lot of people is that drug users and criminals are entrenching themselves into the camp, which has lined the street behind the Salvation Army Caring Place since the spring.

“So within that camp are groups of people that are really causing the problems. At some point, there has to be accountability.”

He lives in another area but says he’s concerned about the homeowners along Cliff Avenue who have put up with the camp for four months. A leaflet handed out during the gathering said they’re not against the poor or homeless, but against the pushers, thieves and junkies who leave their needles around.

About 75 people showed up for the rally, including former candidate for Maple Ridge council Grover Telford. Homelessness is a complicated issue and will take a long time to solve, he said adding he supports the Housing First model where people are given homes first, then helped with their problems.

 

But he wants the city to get an injunction to allow it to remove the camp.

“They have let it form and it’s proliferated into what it is now.” If the city spent a million dollars on a bike lane along Lougheed Highway near Laity Street, it could afford an injunction.

In addressing the crowd, Telford noted there no council members present. “Interesting, isn’t it?

“I’ve seen this town go downhill so fast, it’s unbelievable.”

The walk followed 224th Street to Lougheed Highway then down the Haney Bypass to the entrance to the camp.

Stretch, along with several Ridge Meadows RCMP, were there to ensure protesters didn’t enter the camp. “We are not going in there,” said another organizer Karen Leo.

RCMP have said earlier that they enforce the law at the camp as equally as anywhere else in the city.

“We’ll get our town back,” said Pam Banks as she walked along 224th Street.

“You betcha,” added barber Bob Williams as he watched the procession from the Stag Barbershop.

“I think it’s fantastic. It’s time something was done.

“It’s worse than it’s ever been,” said Williams who’s been cutting hair in Maple Ridge for 53 years.

“The ones that are over there they can’t get along with each other. They’re playing a game. We’re getting sucked into it and it shouldn’t happen,” he said.

Some people at the camp need the help but some are causing trouble.

“Political correctness has just gone too far.”

Rick and Venus LaPierre live nearby on North Avenue and saw drug activity on Monday night. “We just want the mayor to do something,” said Rick “She’s tried the soft-love approach.”

Stretch said the criminal element that hides beneath the guise of homelessness, needs to be addressed.

“We want them in shelter, we want them in treatment and we want them in jail, whever it needs to be, it needs to happen and it needs to happen now.

“We have to bring the community back to Maple Ridge.”

The provincial government, through BC Housing, has said it will pay for a temporary shelter so that people can be moved off the street.

Based on previous court decisions, the city cannot get an injunction to disband a camp unless there is a place for the homeless.

The province made the announcment on July 17 but there’s still no location for a shelter.

Coun. Craig Speirs said at the time that the city, within a month, should be able to find a building that it can lease. It has to be located near social services but not close to a residential area. The shelter may require capacity to house 100 people in basic accommodation, which may involve cubicle type residences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Haney Sewing and Sound delivery truck stolen

Distinctive vehicle and pickup stolen in Maple Ridge overnight Friday

Farmer warns about dike breach

McKinney Creek flooding Maple Ridge farms

UPDATE: Donations flood into Friends in Need Food Bank

Firefighters for Families campaign raised $17,847

Another condo project filling in south Haney

Phase 1 calls for 23 units on 224th Street

Thomas Haney secondary hosts first Winter Carnival for community

THSS students are hosting event on Dec. 20.

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

Concerts benefit Christmas charities for 20th year

Emergency task force calls for safe supply of drugs in Vancouver to prevent ODs

Dr. Patricia Daly says more people are dying alone in the city than elsewhere in the province

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

New B.C. Lions coach DeVone Claybrooks adds eight to coaching staff

DeVone Claybrooks has filled out his staff for the 2019 season

Two-year-old attacked by cougar near Mission, B.C.

Boy not seriously injured in incident on Monday afternoon

Road to the World Juniors leads through B.C.

Finland plays Denmark on Wednesday, United States takes on Czech Republic on Saturday

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Public crams the cruiser for food bank

Ridge Meadows RCMP raise almost 1,000 pounds of food in three hours

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Most Read