News Views: Maple Ridge gets labelled

A Vancouver TV news program called Maple Ridge the new Downtown Eastside last week after residents complained about open drug use.

A Vancouver TV news program called Maple Ridge the new Downtown Eastside last week after residents complained about open drug use in the city.

The latter is not new to downtown Maple Ridge, and it has nothing to do with the temporary homeless shelter operated by RainCity Housing. Nor are the mayor, the city, the RCMP to blame.

Homelessness and drug use have plagued downtown Maple Ridge for more than a decade.

Before the Salvation Army opened its temporary homeless shelter at the corner of Lougheed Highway and the Haney Bypass, it offered the same services out of a church on Dewdney Trunk Road.

Before the Sally Ann shelter, homeless camps existed on numerous lots and in parks throughout the city. Remnants of drug use littered such places, as city staff and RCMP pushed the occupants along.

We saw the extent of the problem when the homeless were allowed to camp on Cliff Avenue.

The downtown had seemed more civil in the months after the city’s temporary shelter opened and Cliff Avenue was vacated. But as the temporary shelter has been extended, and new locations for a multi-faceted shelter are discussed, the problems are again a focus for many.

No doubt, the problems exist. They have for a long time. As RCMP Superintendent Dave Fleugel has said, arresting people with addiction, untreated mental illness and who are living on the street does not help them. If it did, the Downtown Eastside would not exist as it does today.

Why such problems do exist there, and seem to in downtown Maple Ridge and Port Coquitlam and Whalley and Abbotsford and Chilliwack and Victoria, more so than in other communities throughout the Lower Mainland and B.C., is not known.

But shaming people, and the city, won’t help them. We understand that residents and businesses are scared. If more isn’t done to help the homeless and addicted, the problems will continue to persist.

Maple Ridge must define itself, not be labelled by others.


– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News


Just Posted

Mad Hatters Parade and Tea Party in Maple Ridge

Event to end stigma surrounding mental illness

Pitt Meadows Foundation chooses its citizen of the year

Peter Jongbloed has been active at city hall and with environmental causes

Pitt Meadows Day fireworks show gets $15,000 infusion

Fundraiser by community groups nets over $22,000

Burrards sign another scorer

WLA club starts campaign with eyes on Mann Cup

Sensory rooms new option for mental health

Maple Ridge leading the way with three

Jeep totalled, four young people in hospital, after single-vehicle crash in Surrey

Mounties have not ruled out any possible factors in what led to the overnight crash

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Cloverdale Rodeo competition promises to be a ‘nail-biter’ this weekend

New challengers giving returning champions a run for their money

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read