‘We should be grateful for lovely town we live in’

More than just Caring Place needs to be considered when talking about the state of our downtown core

Editor, The News:

Re: Municipality encourages area ‘ghettoization (Letters, Nov. 16).

For too long now, many members of our community have written to your newspaper with complaints about the Caring Place.

Many of the letter writers seem to feel that it is because of the shelter that drug addicts and prostitutes have begun to appear in the downtown core.

I think it’s important for people to pause and think about the area of town under discussion. We’re talking about the centre of Maple Ridge, an area that includes the majority of shops and services we depend on.

It also contains one gaming centre, with another soon to come, as well as a strip club.

Several letter writers seem to think that the Caring Place should be moved, but no one seems to care about the influence of gaming centres and strip cubs.

Also, where would they like the Caring Place to move – Ruskin, Silverdale, or some other inaccessible location for those who need it the most?

I’d also like to say that, like Sandy MacDougall, my husband and I live up the street from the Caring Place.

In fact, Mr. MacDougall is a neighbour of ours, as he lives just around the corner from our home.

Like the MacDougalls, we too, see people who might be homeless or who could be addicts. I don’t know, but I do know that I don’t feel threatened. Besides, no-one wears signs saying they’re associated with the Caring Place.

Several years ago, we experienced an extremely harsh cold snap. My husband and I decided to gather all the coats, jackets, pairs of socks, and other winter clothes we could find and leave them at the Caring Place as a donation.

When I entered the building, I met a really nice man at the door who helped me with my bundle.

I also saw a bright, airy room that looked clean and welcoming; it didn’t look at all like a place doing double duty as a brothel or crack house.

I hope people will soon stop blaming the Caring Place for the few ills our town is experiencing.

We are nothing like Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. I think we should be grateful for the lovely town we live in.

D. Aird

Maple Ridge