Editor, The News:
I was dismayed to read about the decision of Maple Ridge council , two members excluded, to refuse rezoning for lands on Burnett Street, which would have meant an improvement in services for our people who are homeless.
In addition to denying services for which there is a crying need, there was in the discussion plenty of implied criticism of the Salvation Army, which has been determined and brave enough to provide services to those in most need in our community for so many years. The Army has provided compassionate response, shelter and thousands of meals.
I am listening to a Sunday morning radio program about the numbers of young people who are homeless in our midst, a serious crisis across our whole country. In addition, many poor people, including working poor, plus elderly people on fixed incomes are extremely vulnerable when rental vacancy rates are at one per cent or less.
It is difficult to understand a decision to deny much needed housing after the longest mandate ever. Nearly four years ago it was apparent to everyone, council included, that we had a serious problem.
So far we have Anita’s Camp to show for it.
In a wealthy community such as our’s, this is shameful. Sure there will be some temporary housing built, but this is not an action of our local government, and even that has been vehemently protested.
Where is political courage? Where are those willing to stand up for and provide for the vulnerable in our midst? How long do we wait while people languish in our ravines, and on our streets?
Maple Ridge has rejected every reasonable site proposed during the life of this council.
We are in dire need of change.
Editor’s note: Linda King is a former Maple Ridge councillor.