The provincial government, not the city of Maple Ridge, has chosen a site to build a supportive housing and emergency shelter facility in Maple Ridge.
It’s about time.
The province will spend $3.6 million to purchase property at 11749 and 11761 Burnett Street, just north of Lougheed Highway in the downtown area, for 40 new supportive housing units and relocation of up to 40 shelter beds.
The complaints have started already
The property is next to a seniors complex, in a residential and commercial area and near two schools.
The province picked the site, without consulting the city.
So the province will take the brunt of the backlash, which accompanied the two other previous proposed locations for this facility.
But it has to go somewhere.
A committee assembled by then-MLAs Doug Bing and Marc Dalton, both Liberals, recommended a different location and that it not be low-barrier, nor downtown on Lougheed Highway or Dewdney Trunk Road.
The new NDP provincial government ignored those recommendations.
As Maple Ridge Coun. Kiersten Duncan pointed out, the previous provincial government backed down to criticism.
This one has now shown it’s not afraid of opposition, that issues related to homelessness, specifically mental health and addiction, need to be addressed.
The Salvation Army will run the new facility. Hopefully it brings with it a sound neighbourhood liaison plan, and continues with a more open approach.
The province is also allocating $15 million to an affordable rental housing project being discussed with Maple Ridge on property the city owns at 21375 Lougheed Hwy., for housing and supports for families and seniors.
The province will purchase land to set up temporary re-purposed modular housing, as well, and increase support for mental health and addictions care in Maple Ridge through the Intensive Case Management Team.
There will be conflict.
There will be adjustments.
There will still be homeless people.
But as a city, as a province, we can’t continue as we have, working in bits and pieces and leaving our most vulnerable residents out in the cold.
– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News