Its easy to talk about delivering a robust community engagement process and a different matter entirely to deliver one. Citizens were promised input into the location of the proposed shelter. It didn’t happen. Instead, the city purchased the property with no public consultation. When the property purchase was announced, residents were kept in the dark for weeks as the city worked behind closed doors creating print media ads, a social media forum and a website to promote its biased conversation.
Late on a Friday afternoon, the city announced the official rollout of shelter details for ten am the following Monday, ensuring citizens would have no opportunity to attend. A day later, they launched their campaign. An effort to defer a council vote to allow public input was quashed. Elected representatives attempting to speak on the will of the people were rudely dispatched. The parameters of the planned four-part educational series on homelessness have been changed so many times we’re dizzy.
If you feel it is a breach of trust to for citizens to be deprived of their right to have input into a project of this importance, speak up. Demand to know the dates of public input opportunities—now. The will of the people should be council’s first consideration.
We started Cliff Avenue with 39 living in tents and 45 at the Salvation Army shelter. Right now, Maple Ridge has three low barrier facilities operating at capacity to provide 125 beds. An additional 316 homeless have been placed into 'scattered housing' throughout the community.
Add to this, the 60 individuals still living rough in ravines and wooded areas. We are doing more than other Lower Mainland community. How many homeless are we expected to house? The proposed BC Housing plan will add an additional 50 low barrier beds.
Current # Of
Proposed # Of Beds
Per 1000 People