Men load a buggy with items outside what is now Maple Ridge Pool and Spa on Thursday.

Men load a buggy with items outside what is now Maple Ridge Pool and Spa on Thursday.

Letter: ‘I used to have compassion’

Letter writers complain about the drug and homeless problem in downtown Maple Ridge

Editor, The News:

Re: A problem since the start (The News, Aug. 1).

I have lived in Maple Ridge since 1974. I was 14 years old then and moving to “Haney” was horrifying to a person my age.

I was coming to a rural area I had never heard of, from Coquitlam.

Life was good, but rural.

I left and eventually came back to Maple Ridge to raise my son in 1993.

I have tried to have compassion for the homeless of our community.

In 2003 I, on my own, wrestled my son’s stolen bike back from a homeless person as he was pulling it down the road. He attempted to argue with me that it may not be my boy’s bike. I ultimately had to threaten him. I had to get physical. He backed down.

But, he was homeless, possibly drug addicted, and desperate.

I had compassion.

In 2009, I had an altercation with a homeless person who threatened me with bodily harm because I was walking on the sidewalk with my earphones in and he could not get his bike past me.  He blocked my path, threatened my life. I had to call the RCMP.

But, he was homeless, possible drug addicted and desperate.

I had compassion.

In 2014, my mentally handicapped neighbour – who works a part-time job and looks after her dog diligently, pays taxes, is a contributor to society – was waiting at the bus stop to go to work. She had her back pack ripped off her shoulder by a homeless person on a bike. Possibly drug addicted and desperate.

I now have no compassion.

The aftermath of what this person did to my neighbour was horrific. Calming her down was almost impossible. It involved calling the ministry of mental health, calling her superiors to cancel her shift. Calling her family.

I am embarrassed to say I live even close to where the community has to deal with these people.

I have had enough. Our businesses are suffering, our investments are suffering. The community is suffering.

S. McCartney

Maple Ridge


What about us?

Editor, The News:

Re: A problem since the start (The News, Aug. 1).

The residents and the businesses around the Salvation Army Caring Place are not the only victims of the homeless shelter.

Townhouses  six blocks away and residents in-between have constantly dealt with the theft from these individuals.

They steal whatever they can use or sell, anything that is not nailed down.

Locks have been cut and they come through the complexes checking to see who might have forgot to lock their vehicle.

Why should we have to live like this to be good citizens to the homeless?

They clearly don’t respect Maple Ridge.

Why was the Caring Place located right in the middle of town? You beautify downtown Maple Ridge, then taint it with drugged-up thieves.

I’m all for helping the less fortunate, but they really don’t seem to appreciate or respect this helping hand. Why should we have to consider moving farther away or out of Maple Ridge because of this nuisance?

D. Foster

Maple Ridge