Social issues cost Maple Ridge $5,000 a day

That’s about $1.8 million a year.

B.C. Housing says a total of 439 people have been found homes in Maple Ridge within the last year or so.

B.C. Housing says a total of 439 people have been found homes in Maple Ridge within the last year or so.

While Maple Ridge council was debating Monday the costs of hiring two social planners, staff provided the costs that the city faces every day to deal with issues such as homelessness, mental illness or drug addiction.

And according to finance general manager Paul Gill, it’s about a $5,000 daily tab for Maple Ridge taxpayers.

That’s about $1.8 million a year.

Gill gave council a break down of those costs, calculated a few weeks ago, starting with a daily policing charge of about $2,000.

That’s based on one full-time officer and two others patrolling the downtown on overtime. The $2,000 cost represents about 22 hours of policing service per day, or policing cost of about $90 an hour.

In addition, one person from the city’s parks and leisure services department is assigned to deal with the issues of homelessness, addiction and mental illness.

As well, recreation general manager Kelly Swift and others have to spend part of their work time on those same issues. Total administrative costs add up to $1,600 a day.

Bylaws staff, firefighters and operations also have to deal with issues related to homelessness.

The daily costs of hiring Westridge Security and former RCMP inspector Dave Walsh as a special bylaw officer dealing with the downtown adds another $750.

Gill said all the numbers are low estimates.

“Based on this, we estimate our daily costs at about $5,000,” Gill said.

 

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