Housing minister says there’s no more room to expand modular housing complex at Royal Crescent. (THE NEWS/files)

B.C. housing minister rejects city’s plan for Maple Ridge homeless encampment

Will proceed with supportive housing on “expedited” basis

Burnett Street is one location B.C. Housing is considering for new temporary modular housing after rejecting Maple Ridge’s social housing plan, passed Tuesday.

“We’re looking a range of properties. Burnett is certainly part of the mix. I have staff out looking for the best fit right now,” Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson said Wednesday.

B.C. Housing owns two lots in the 11700-block of Burnett Street, a location which sparked controversy last year when it was proposed for a permanent supportive housing site.

The city’s social housing plan called for the expansion of the temporary modular housing complex on Royal Crescent to accommodate residents of Anita Place Tent City.

But Robinson said late Tuesday that Royal Crescent can’t be expanded from its present 56 units because of physical limitations and slope of the site and that she told that to the city before council’s decision.

“I was clear with the mayor last week, and again when we spoke today, that inaction was not an option for the community of Maple Ridge, as this situation has been allowed to continue for too long,” Robinson added.

She said the city hasn’t identified a workable solution so the ministry will 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.”

Residents returned to the camp on 223rd Street this week after an evacuation order by the provincial fire commissioner following a series of fires and explosions there.

Robinson also wants to work with the city on other types of housing for seniors and for recovery homes, as outlined in the social housing plan.

“But we cannot ask the people of Maple Ridge to wait any longer for the housing that is needed to enable us to close the camp down and bring its residents inside, into the supportive homes they need,” Robinson said.

More details on the location and design for more temporary modular housing, including public education sessions, are expected in weeks to come, Robinson said Wednesday.

Residents will be able to register for a community advisory committee.

As for a permanent location, the city’s social housing plan said it wants a “made-in-Maple Ridge,” abstinence-based supportive housing facility.

Robinson said the government, with Fraser Health involvement, is open to looking at what’s possible for a facility that helps those who’ve already gone through detox or treatment.

“But right now, we know that Housing First works, so we just make sure that people have a Housing First opportunity. We know that there’s a shortage of that.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UFV launches school of creative arts

New school combines theatre and visual arts

Pints n’ Pitches coming to Abbotsford

Free Oct. 16 event brings together people to foster potential business ventures

BC Children’s virtual care sites open at Abbotsford and Chilliwack hospitals

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

McKenzie Road shut down by police for hours last night due to mental health incident

People reportedly heard police negotiating with individual to come outside house

Historian Keith Carlson appointed Canada Research Chair at UFV

Carlson is an ethno-historian with a strong connection to the Sto:lo people in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Vancouver Giants wrap up prairie road swing with a 4-2 win over Regina

Milos Roman paced the Langley-based Giants with two goals, goaltender David Tendeck made 34 saves

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

Man arrested in fatal stabbing at Surrey gas station

Victim pronounced deceased at the scene; RCMP cordon off area

Most Read