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‘We can’t risk people’s lives’: Maple Ridge Council votes to prohibit homeless camp

Maple Ridge voted to remove a longstanding homeless camp, Anita's Place.
Maple Ridge voted to remove a longstanding homeless camp, Anita's Place. Credit: Global News

Maple Ridge city council has voted unanimously to resume injunction proceedings against a homeless camp known as “Anita’s place.”

Mayor Nicole Read said council needed to take action.

“We know from these camps that the dynamic of the camp shifts over time. It becomes worse. More concerning, more life safety issues and we’ve hit that point and that’s the end,” she said.

WATCH: Maple Ridge officials address homeless camp concerns

Read said council had received reports from police and firefighters that there were significant issues of criminality increasing in the camp.

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“At the end of the day we can’t risk people’s lives in the camp, not the lives of the campers, not the lives of our fire personnel, not the lives of our police officers,” she said.

READ MORE: Injunction filed against Maple Ridge homeless camp as low barrier shelter closes

When asked where these people will go, Read said BC Housing needs to take responsibility.

The mayor emphasized that the province and BC Housing need to solve this issue quickly, and that council has asked the province numerous times to lead an engagement process with the public.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge could be next in line for modular housing to ease homeless crunch

“Elected officials are becoming increasingly frustrated at the amount of time it’s taking to drive solutions. We can’t just be talking about the boxes, the housing in which we’re putting people. We have to be talking about the gaps in the healthcare system.”

Read said health care solutions are not there to support people’s transitions from the streets.

The municipality was in talks to receive temporary modular housing but Read said no immediate time frame or location has been proposed.

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