Legions of people would see Pete, say ‘hi,’ and offer to buy him a coffee, or a sandwich, a cigar. (Contributed)

News Views: ‘Pete’s Place’

Pete Seigo was a well-known, long-time homeless person in Maple Ridge.

Pete Seigo, just ‘Pete’ to many, ‘Mr. Wendal’ to others, passed away in Ridge Meadows Hospital on Friday.

Pete was a well-known, long-time homeless person in Maple Ridge, an often quiet man with a long beard who in later years lost parts of his feet to frostbite.

The stories of Pete are countless.

Those who grew up around him have said Pete suffered from mental illness, and that up until his passing was residing at Beckman House, which supports people living with mental health challenges.

Most knew Pete only to see him, at a McDonald’s restaurant, or outside a gas station, 7-Eleven or Chevron. He was found outside a liquor store one particularly cold winter about a decade ago or more, and the frostbite was so severe that parts of his feet had to be amputated.

He could be seen, wearing prosthetics, pushing his wheelchair along Laity Street in the years after, when he lived at a nearby mobile home park.

But mostly he was seen sitting in his chair at various spots.

Legions of people would see Pete, say ‘hi,’ and offer to buy him a coffee, or a sandwich, a cigar.

He would accept and mumble a ‘thanks.’

No one said he begged. Most appreciated that he didn’t.

Salvation Army staff were familiar with Pete in past years, and said he wouldn’t stay there. He would take blankets and leave, head for the outdoors.

He had his problems.

But in his passing, few if any such accounts surfaced. Most all who commented on his passing expressed sadness and condolences, love and compassion. They said he was kind, that he asked not to be judged.

All that in Maple Ridge, where homelessness, more specifically camps for such – first on Cliff Avenue, now 223rd Street – and issues over how and where to house their residents, or not, has been the source of much division in the community, along with associated drug use and thefts, and promises to dominate discussion in the upcoming municipal election.

Some have suggested starting a fundraising campaign to place a bronze plaque at Pete’s favourite place.

Others have suggested making his wheelchair a monument there.

Another wanted the city to pay for his memorial service or a bench in his honour.

For certain, he has become a symbol, a figure that this community has rallied around.

Pete has shown that Maple Ridge has a heart. The people here do care about others, including those less fortunate, or coping with mental illness.

To some long-time residents here, Pete was the first and only homeless person they knew. He didn’t make demands. He didn’t speak in front of TV cameras. He didn’t have his own social media accounts.

He was one of them, someone raised here, someone they were familiar with. Parents who knew Pete from years ago introduced their children to him.

So the community, in its own, simple way, tried to take care of him, look out for him. They tried to make him feel like he mattered.

And now the community misses him.

Rest in peace, Pete.

And thank you.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: Why are mobile lab workers not getting hazard pay?

A Pitt Meadows essential service worker questions why she and coworkers are not being compensated

PHOTOS: Maple Ridge Cubs conduct porch-based food drive

A Scouting from Home effort sees kids collecting non-perishables for the Friends In Need Food Bank

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

LETTER: Hear your postie’s plea about dogs

When a canine bites, it’s seldom the animal but rather the owner at fault

Gifted tablet help connect patients with loved-ones

Amid COVID, Ridge Meadows Hospital continues to receive a variety of different kinds of donations

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

Most Read