How about a bus ticket back to Vancouver?

Certainly, the mayor and the rest of council are well aware of the problems created by these people.

Editor, The News:

Re: Simple solution: move Caring Place elsewhere (Letters, Oct. 5).

What to do about the Caring Place?

On the one hand, there are those in genuine need who must avail themselves of the auspices which the Caring Place provides.

However, on the other hand, there are the ne’er-do-wells and other assorted miscreants who use the Caring Place as a terminus for stealing, drug-dealing and other illegal activities.

The latter are the people who should be booted not only from the Caring Place, but also from the municipality.

Certainly, the mayor and the rest of council are well aware of the problems created by these people.

I think that rather than do anything about it, council members are turning a blind eye, hoping the increasing incidences of theft, vandalism, drug-dealing and assaults will somehow vanish.

It doesn’t work that way.

The criminal activities originating from the Caring Place are no longer confined to the areas in the immediate vicinity, but are expanding continually into neighbourhoods miles away.

People are being robbed in broad daylight, for Pete’s sake.

Sooner or later, the mayor and council are going to be forced to deal with this issue.  Why not bring forth a motion to the effect that anyone found using the Caring Place for illegal activities will be immediately arrested and given a bus ticket back to Vancouver?

It surely wouldn’t put much pressure on the finances of the district to buy a few bus tickets and it would at least temporarily relieve us of some of the problems this group of people are causing.

It’s high time for the mayor and council to act on this problem.

George Clarke

Maple Ridge

 

We all care

Editor, The News:

Re: So far we have not lived up to high standard (Letters, Oct. 5).

Wayne Clark has linked my good name with the comments of Sandy Macdougall and all but accused me of being some kind of Nazi.

I find it unfortunate to have to defend myself from this sort of attack.  I have the right to an opinion, which, by the way, did not include calling another human being detritus.

Bottom line is, we all care about our town and we are all frustrated with the situation the Caring Place has fostered, but ranting about barbed wire and tattoos gets us no where.

Many of these poor souls need their meds and a bed and three  meals a day and I am deeply ashamed that in our affluent Canadian society our mentally ill are out on the streets.

But many of our homeless community members are not mentally ill. They like their lifestyle, they ride better bikes than I can afford and have no respect for anyone else.

I don’t believe we should just accept this and cannot reconcile myself, as Claus Andrup has, that nothing can be done, nothing can be changed.

I think the first step is expressing and respecting each others opinion.

D. Ferguson

Maple Ridge

 

 

No change

Editor, The News:

Re: Simple solution: move Caring Place elsewhere (Letters, Oct. 5).

I think Sandy Macdougall’s initial letter comes from a genuine sense of frustration around the overall situation in downtown Maple Ridge.

Having lived in the Haney triangle since my family moved to Maple Ridge nine years ago, I would say I have yet to see the downtown core approach the point where it is going to ‘turn the corner’.

I acknowledge the work done by residents, local businesses, the RCMP and city hall.

Unfortunately, it just does not feel, and certainly does not look, as if any substantial change is going to manifest in the downtown core for a long while yet.

I wish that were not the case, because this area has nothing but promise.

Residents of this area are caught between service providers that don’t reach out to the community in which they operate, and a city hall that lacks any substantial protocols about how the community wants to be engaged.

Downtown is our home and that is something I don’t think either of the aforementioned entities sincerely acknowledge.

In an article on Aug. 30, regarding business development, the mayor is quoted as saying: “I think an important part of the process will be that whole neighborhood engagement”.

Well, I hate to break up the party, but any community/resident engagement regarding service providers operating in the downtown core has been top down, if it happened at all.

It is disingenuous of city hall and the mayor to speak of neighborhood engagement in regards to business development and yet completely wash over the lack of neighborhood engagement, from the perspective of the residents, when it comes to service providers in the downtown core.

Tyler Ducharme

Maple Ridge

 

A solution

Editor, The News:

Re: Simple solution: move Caring Place elsewhere (Letters, Oct. 5).

We are spending huge sums of money by refusing to deal with the reality of homelessness.

Over the past few decades, our response as a society has been to provide emergency assistance to deal with the symptoms rather than addressing the fundamental problem – people need safe, affordable homes.

A research paper done by Stephen Gaetz and produced by the Canadian Homelessness Network Research Press states that, in 2007, the cost of homelessness was more than $4.5 billion – more than we spend on international development or debt reduction.

One joke that went around was that the current government was building prisons to deal with the homelessness ‘problem’.  But it isn’t a joke because these costs are growing as the demand on shelters, food banks, emergency medical services, institutional responses and various transitional housing projects seeks to address the symptoms.

In 2008, a study done in B.C. argued that one homeless person costs the system more than $55,000 per year. That study suggested that if homeless people were provided with adequate housing and supports, the cost would drop to $37,000 per year.

Homelessness also leads to increased illness and injury as well as a shorter lifespan.

Estimates are that at least 30 per cent of homeless people suffer from mental illness.

This is just the most recent of many studies that have demonstrated that we need to take a preventative approach rather than merely responding to emergencies.

Bob Goos

Maple Ridge

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