News Views: A solution

Seemingly, no one location is going to please all.

The City of Maple Ridge wants to move the temporary homeless shelter, in the old Sleep Shop building in downtown Maple Ridge, to a permanent location along Lougheed Highway and backing on to the cemetery.

Fewer people should be upset with that location.

Businesses and residents have complained about loitering around the current location, as they have for years about the same in and around the Salvation Army shelter.

And hundreds of people rallied against a previous pitch to purchase the Quality Inn and use it as a permanent housing facility for the homeless.

The new location, 21375 Lougheed Highway,  is only a few blocks west of the hotel, and is bordered on each side by commercial buildings. A stream runs through the treed lot, which has remnants of homeless camps already on it.

Along its northern border is the Maple Ridge Cemetery. Fronting the property is a bike path, which cost more than $1 million to construct.

B.C. Housing picked the property.

Seemingly, no one location is going to please all.

This one is out of the downtown, not in a residential neighbourhood, and across the highway from Ridge Meadows Hospital – a convenient if not ironic fact, given the number of drug overdoses in the Metro region over the past year, including the many at the temporary shelter in Maple Ridge.

It is slated to close when modular buildings are erected at the new site, given public consultations go well enough.

We think they will. It is not enough to oppose housing for the homeless based on some notion that they should just choose to stop using drugs. Science tells us that addiction is a disease, but treatable. Mental illness complicates matters, and many on our streets share such a dual diagnosis. Enforcing constraints won’t help them any more than will power.

The choice here is for the city, and the province to help them, to first get them off the streets and out of the bushes, and track them along.

Help is the solution.

 

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News