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Politics

B.C. housing minister slams Maple Ridge’s plan to address homelessness as ‘not workable’

Many of the city's homeless have been living in a makeshift camp known as 'Anita Place.'.
Many of the city's homeless have been living in a makeshift camp known as 'Anita Place.'. Global News

B.C.’s housing minister is threatening to go it alone on building new social housing in Maple Ridge.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson issued a terse statement Tuesday night, following the City of Maple Ridge presenting its own social housing plan at council.

“I am disappointed in the outcome of the Maple Ridge city council meeting tonight,” said Robinson.

READ MORE: Housing minister decries ‘frustrating’ pace of housing in Maple Ridge, points to ‘roadblocks’

“The City brought forward a proposal that they knew was not workable, and which would not provide the housing needed to close down the Anita Place camp and bring people indoors.”

Under the plan proposed Tuesday night, the City proposed “some additional temporary modular housing units” for Anita Place homeless campers at the same site as Maple Ridge’s one existing modular housing project on Royal Crescent.

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WATCH: Maple Ridge homeless campers stage demonstration following eviction

Maple Ridge homeless campers stage demonstration following eviction
Maple Ridge homeless campers stage demonstration following eviction

Additionally, it calls for an affordable seniors housing project on provincial land at 11748 Burnett St., and provincial support for a municipal affordable rental project on 228 Street.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge votes to move forward on social housing plan

It also calls for the City to work with BC Housing and Fraser Health to develop a “Made in Maple Ridge” pilot model for permanent social housing.

Robinson rejected the plan’s core proposal, and said he had been clear with both city staff and Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden that the Royal Crescent site does not have room for any more housing units.

WATCH: After years of controversy, Anita Place is finally evacuated by police and Maple Ridge city staff

After years of controversy, Anita Place is finally evacuated by police and Maple Ridge city staff
After years of controversy, Anita Place is finally evacuated by police and Maple Ridge city staff

And she said the province is prepared to move without the City if necessary.

“We have tried and would prefer to work collaboratively with the City,” she said.

READ MORE: Evacuation order lifted for Maple Ridge homeless camp

“However, as the City has not identified a workable solution, we need to move forward with building temporary supportive housing on an expedited basis to get the camp closed down and to house the people experiencing homelessness in Maple Ridge.”

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Robinson said the province is still ready to work with the City on other elements of the plan, such as seniors and recovery housing.

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