Nathan Sands and Open Door Church Pastor Bradley Christianson-Barker recently stayed at tent city.

Nathan Sands and Open Door Church Pastor Bradley Christianson-Barker recently stayed at tent city.

Letter: We must safeguard our democracy

Editor, The News:

Re: Maple Ridge ‘tent city’ quieter than provincial campground, pastor finds.

For 18 years I served on Maple Ridge council. My recollection is that during the life of each of those six councils there was at least one proposal for social housing of some sort.

In every case there was fierce objection. Angry people showed up at public hearings, and councillors received much negative feedback.

Not one proposal was rejected by council.

I remember asking angry callers if they could identify our already existing projects. Most could not name even one.

Maple Ridge has a history of doing its share when it comes to the provision of social housing in Metro Vancouver.

At present, we are simply beset with a few people who feel we should stop, some of whom choose to express their opposition in ways that are both hateful and disturbing. Certainly during my time on council many people disagreed with me, but I never felt that I or my daughters would be unsafe as a result. If the anonymity of social media leads to such behaviour, we need to devise strategies to counter the vitriol. We must safeguard our democracy in such an environment.

There are enough good people here to challenge the behaviour of the few.

As of September, I will have lived here 50 years. Maple Ridge was Haney then and a much less complicated place.

It is a good place with many people who care about community, and people who are inclusive enough in their thinking to know that our homeless people need to be housed.

The problem needs to be addressed. Here we need to accept the funding offered by the province, funding that is not always easy to obtain.

We must select a suitable site close to downtown and do the groundwork with the neighbours, and build the required building.

Linda King

Maple Ridge