Morden, in March, opposed modular homes on Royal Crescent. (THE NEWS/files)

News Views: The moralist

Maple Ridge doesn’t want any more low-barrier shelter beds.

Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden has stated that the city doesn’t want any more low-barrier shelter beds.

This as the city returns to Supreme Court next week to seek an injunction to allow it to enforce fire safety measures inside Anita Place Tent City, where there have been six unresolved fires since its inception 18 months ago, including two last month.

Closing tent city would be part of a community safety plan, on which Morden campaigned this past fall and is currently being developed.

Morden said he’s written to the province seeking confirmation that B.C. Housing money allocated to Maple Ridge is still available. He added that the city is “particularly interested in seniors and affordable housing.”

B.C. Housing, in 2016, promised $15 million to build a permanent shelter and supportive housing complex in Maple Ridge.

After sites for such at the Quality Inn and west along Lougheed Highway near Maple Ridge Cemetery were rejected after petitions and protests, the previous council, in May, rejected, at first reading, a B.C. Housing proposal to build an 85-unit supportive housing and shelter complex on Burnett Street and 117th Avenue.

Morden, when president of the chamber of commerce, started a petition opposing the purchase of the former motel on Lougheed Highway for long-term housing. He also started the Action Maple Ridge group, which opposed the other site near the cemetery and rejects the low-barrier model, which, as the Sally Ann learned, is a funding requirement of B.C. Housing. Morden further questioned the modular home facility on Royal Crescent, a low-barrier facility.

The low-barrier model is part of the federal Housing First initiative, a researched tool in solving chronic and episodic homelessness while reducing pressure on other emergency services. Permanent housing, complemented by the provision of services, helps to assist clients to sustain their housing and work towards recovery and reintegration into the community, according to the Government of Canada.

We know the moralist arguments against the Housing First strategy. Morden said the city isn’t interested in adding low-barrier shelter beds as “we already provide three times our regional share.” Maple Ridge, he added, is interested in a model that includes concepts from The Path Forward report produced last year by the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, which recommends adding detox and long-term recovery programs.

Basically, it promotes abstinence and 12-step programs with help from those with lived experience and surveys.

More detox and recovery beds would be welcome, but people have to be willing or accepted into such programs. Detox doesn’t work for all, and can be harmful to some. And those beds also have to be funded. That could take convincing, and time.

So what happens in the meantime?

Maple Ridge had 27 overdose deaths last year and 33 the one before. Illicit drug overdoses were the cause behind 1,380 deaths in B.C. 2018, one short of the record set the year before, according to the Coroners Service.

Addiction is a disease, and is complicated when coupled with mental health issues.

Those in that situation need more help than hope.

At least now we know where the mayor stands.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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

Just Posted

Weather: Another sunny day forecasted for Ridge Meadows

Temperatures will reach a high of 7 C

Sharing hugs and happiness in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Teams of volunteers gave out hugs for Valentine’s Day

Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge BC Winter Games athletes get sent off at Reppin’ the Ridge

Competitors gathered with coaches, parents, games representatives and local politicians

City has new leader for economic development

Wendy Dupley says millennials will like Maple Ridge

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

UPDATE: TransLink gets injunction ahead of pipeline, Indigenous rights protest

The protest rally is in opposition to the Coastal GasLink and Trans Mountain pipeline projects

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Mysterious bang booms over Sumas Mountain once again

Police unsure of source, quarry companies say, ‘not us’

Most Read