Letter: There’s a new reality in Maple Ridge

This is the new reality in Maple Ridge, and in my humble opinion, doing nothing is simply not an option.

Editor, The News:

Re: Petition for, against shelter (The News, Aug. 17).

I live in the downtown area, and I see piles of garbage, including used needles and drug paraphernalia, discarded shopping carts, people sleeping on sidewalks and in parking lots, and open drug use in doorways and alleys on an almost daily basis.

This is the new reality in Maple Ridge, and in my humble opinion, doing nothing is simply not an option.

John Szogi goes on to say that “[t]he system in place is not working”, and he’s right.

This is precisely why we need to move forward with the construction of a “purpose-built facility [that] will provide a more integrated housing approach and stronger support framework,” as stated by Mayor Nicole Read.

The expectation that the city engage in public consultation regarding the potential purchase of a property prior to securing it is unrealistic.

Now that the city has purchased the property, “[t]he zoning process for the new facilities will provide ample opportunity for community feedback … ”

The comments made by Mr. Szogi and Jodi Statham are speculation, and I believe are based on the negative experiences many of us currently face without a purpose-built facility.

And to compare such a facility with the temporary shelter currently in place is naive at best.

I would be very interested to hear suggestions for viable alternatives to the proposed location from any member of “Protecting Maple Ridge.”

I cannot help but think that it is not the location they oppose – it’s the construction of any facility of this type in our community.

I am confident that the citizens of Maple Ridge will be given the opportunity to engage in a process of public consultation in order to identify and resolve the concerns and issues raised by those in opposition.

I would urge everyone to keep an open mind throughout this process and ensure that your voices, both for and against the proposal, are heard.

I would also encourage those of you who are looking for more conversation on the issue of homelessness to join the Facebook Page “Citizens Bridge.”

Christine Bossley

Maple Ridge