What’s happened to our home?

Dollars lavished in the downtown, but can't buy a pair of socks

Editor, The News:

Today I gathered my kids on a normal Monday afternoon to take them to skate and puck at our local ice rink.

Driving  along the Haney Bypass I was appalled at the size of the Cliff Avenue camp (not a protest as some would like to spin it). The sheer number of druggies and junkies wandering aimless around is astounding.

I dropped off my kids at Planet Ice and then went up to 228th Street A&W to grab a quick snack. Went through the drive-thru to pay and noticed a disheveled man standing by the front entrance asking people for change.

Now, I’m all for helping the needy and I do contribute a lot to my community but this was a turning point for me.

I’ve lived here most of my 40 years and I remember riding my bike around the downtown with no worries about being accosted, bothered or even having my bike stolen while I went to the mall.

Now it’s totally different. The downtown is a mish-mash of rundown buildings and thrift stores, consignment stores, and let’s not forget the half dozen cheque-cashing stores.

I sat and pondered what our town has to offer and it’s quite depressing. I thought about basics. Like socks and underwear. I could not think of one place in Maple Ridge that I could buy these two items other than Marks. And soon they will be moving out of the downtown as well. Yet our city increasingly spends a huge sum annually on the beautification of our downtown core by making decorative crosswalks and sidewalk improvements.

Is this really what our town has become?

We shun shopping for our tax-paying citizens who work hard to provide for their families and now have to spend their hard-earned cash in Meadowtown (Pitt Meadows tax base) for a pair of clean socks and underwear?  Or even shoes for that matter?  I still have yet to find a mom-and-pop store in town that sells socks and underwear.

Our homeless population is exploding and we the taxpayers get harassed at every turn by city bylaw officers. Don’t dare park over your one-hour time limit on 224th Street or a fine will be bestowed upon you for trying to have a lunch downtown. Yet we have a full blown toxic camp that has seen no end.

We have druggies and unsavoury characters at our rivers and lakes camped out trashing the place where I as a kid grew up and want my kids to enjoy. Going down the Allouette River on a tube is a childhood rite of passage and to have druggies hanging out and shooting up is not what I envisioned this town to be when I grew up and started raising a family here.

Our taxes see no end from increases every year and what we get in return has diminished every year.

We build residential projects next to schools with no ability to teach those children at said school. A family moves in next to Albion elementary only to be told the school they see out their front porch is not in their catchment. And oh, by the way, you have to drive your kids across town for school since we don’t have bus service any more.

All this due to our city’s poor planning. But your taxes will increase irregardless …

Is it just me or is there a serious flaw with this?

I love this town but this town is increasing failing all of us. It’s time for you, Mayor Nicole Read, to take action.

It’s time something is given back to the community from our city and it should go to the taxpayers who live in the community.

Paul Gurm

Maple Ridge

 

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