The BC government has announced the Maple Ridge Quality Inn hotel will no longer become a homeless shelter.
The site was being considered for the interim provision of supportive housing for those who are homeless and at risk in Maple Ridge.
“We will work with the City of Maple Ridge to identify a long-term plan for a new permanent facility,” said Rich Coleman, Minister Responsible for Housing, in a release. “Addressing homelessness involves the cooperation and support of many partners and we will continue to work with the community to assist those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.”
The province is working with the city to extend the opening of the 40-bed temporary shelter from March 31 to June 30.
The province will also provide approximately $15 million in capital and operating funding for a permanent facility once another location has been determined. It says a public consultation process will take place prior to any new site being confirmed.
As with similar facilities, the City of Maple Ridge will be asked to provide the land to the province, as well as waive any related development charges.
WATCH: Organizers of a temporary homeless shelter in Maple Ridge are disappointed with today’s decision to quash the Quality Inn project. Sonia Sunger spoke today with Sean Spear of RainCity Housing.
Neighbours and business owners have been speaking out about the plan to buy the Quality Inn, saying it may only make the city’s homeless problem worse.
The homelessness shelter debate in Maple Ridge has been a long-standing issue and the anger is over the lack of consultation and transparency by B.C. Housing.
Residents opposed to the project held a rally on March 19, calling for their voices to be heard and to fight the decision.
Many locals did not support the plan, saying it won’t solve the city’s homelessness problem.
“The current shelter that we have operated by Rain City has been, in most people’s opinion, a complete disaster,” concerned resident Rhonda Murray said. “The mayor always publicizes that things have gone well, but anybody that’s in the community around it knows that it hasn’t helped anybody….There are rumours about weapons inside. There’s open drug use inside. There’s commonly ambulances at the shelter for overdoses.
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“We don’t want to see the same thing just moved down the street to the Quality Inn.”
As a result of this new development, the public information session originally scheduled for Tuesday evening has been cancelled.
-With files from Paula Baker and Jon Azpiri.