MapleRidgeCitizensVoice.com

CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE:
SHELTER & SUPPORTIVE HOUSING REPORT

IS THIS REALLY WHAT WE’RE GOING TO GET?

This committee’s work presents recommendations based on public input that is now a matter of public record.

MLAs elected May 9 will make the final decision.

We are hopeful that those sent to Victoria in this election will continue to take the view that this should be a local decision.

Our freedom to pioneer the concept of a different type of facility traces back to two statements:

First, from Premier Christy Clark, back in September 2016:  “What the government wants to do is find the model and the location that will work for the community. When Marc and Doug find a proposal they can support that is the one we are going to move on.”

On December 5, 2016 Housing Minister and Deputy Premier Rich Coleman echoed the premier’s sentiments, saying: “Input from residents should be the guiding factor in determining all aspects of the $15 million purpose- built shelter.”

WHY RELEASE REPORT DURING AN ELECTION?

This is an important issue and residents have a keen interest in the outcome. The committee has been under fire for not releasing its findings and it has been suggested that we were stalling until after the election. The election cycle has complicated this important issue but it has not interrupted out work. Citizens have a right to know the results of Marc and Doug’s fact-finding and the recommendations of the committee. It needs to be a matter of public record so that citizens can weigh in with their opinions. A huge part of the public backlash to the two previous locations was a lack of input.

CONSIDERATIONS:

TAKING CARE OF NEIGHBOURS....
Residents, business and community impact

TAKING CARE OF SHELTER RESIDENTS....
Meeting current and future needs of shelter and supported housing residents

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS...
Addressing the business and legal end of establishing the facility

MANDATE:

The Citizens Advisory Committee has been tasked with recommending a site for a $15M purpose built shelter and supportive housing facility. The group felt strongly that the "where" could not be determined without the "what" and therefore extended its mandate to provide strong recommendations about the operations and building structure itself.

WHERE DID PUBLIC INPUT COME FROM?

We were instructed by the MLAs to use public input, as outlined below, as our guide.

  • Close to 16,000 signatures on two petitions against earlier shelter proposals.
  • 800 people who attended a public rally against the Quality Inn.
  • Several hundred emails and telephone calls that came into the two local constituency offices.
  • Neighborhood canvassing conducted by MLAs Bing and Dalton.
  • Advertised coffee meetings and meetings by appointment at the MLA offices.
  • Comment cards filled out by 700 plus citizens at the MLA’s Have Your Say meeting. 

WHAT ABOUT LOCATION?

The committee considered 15 sites in Maple Ridge. Using the criteria articulated under The Report section in this document, we have forwarded a location recommendation to BC Housing.

Where we stand today:

Location recommendations are now in the hands of BC Housing. BC Housing will undertake due diligence and if the site is deemed acceptable the location will move to the MLAs for decision. If the recommended site moves forward it will trigger discussions with the City of Maple Ridge and other partners. The property will then be placed under contract. Once the property is tied up under an interim agreement, it will become public. It will then proceed through the zoning process; where the public input takes place.

Failure to properly address legal matters and announcing the property before it is under contract could kill the deal. It could also end up costing taxpayers significantly more money. Property prices can be inflated when sellers realize they are dealing with government. The perception is they are bottomless pit of money when, in fact, it is taxpayer’s money.

If the location is not deemed satisfactory, we would expect this committee would be reconvened to bring forth another location. Please remember that a significant part of committee efforts have been directed, not only to location, but to a model that mitigates impact to the surrounding communities while meeting the needs of residents.

WHO SERVES ON THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE?

The seven person committee consists of an addictions physician and the former executive director of BC Housing, who also held the top job at BC’s largest shelter. As well, it draws from the expertise of an authority in recovery. Another committee member brings experience establishing a treatment centre and yet another, a Cliff Avenue resident, brings 20 years as a support worker to the table. Two small business owners---one a front line worker who volunteers tearing down camps and picking up needles, and another, who has spoken to hundreds who have signed No Shelter petitions, round out the committtee.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO BIOGRAPHIES