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

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.

“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.

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.

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.

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.

“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.”

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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