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Hundreds attend rally against housing complex for homeless in Maple Ridge
More than 300 people attended a rally in Maple Ridge Saturday to protest a modular housing complex.
The province recently announced a plan to house some of the city’s homeless in a 51-unit supportive housing facility on Burnett Street just off Lougheed highway.
Those in attendance at the rally said the government is pushing through the building and ignoring their concerns. They believe the complex will bring more drug use and crime into the area.
“I’ve asked the premier for a meeting, I’ve not been given it. I remain open to that. Our city needs to have its voice,” said Mayor Mike Morden.
Morden said his primary objection is that the facility would be low barrier, meaning residents would be allowed to use substances. He said the city would prefer to see more detox and long-term recovery programs.
The discussion is personal for Morden who opened up at the rally about his experience watching his son suffer with addiction.
“He’s been addicted to anything under the sun that he could get his fingers on,” revealed Morden.
Now his 34-year-old son is sober and living in a long-term program. He believes that would not be the case if his son had been sent to a facility like the one proposed.
“He’s alive and well and has been brought back from the dead many times. I’ve experienced this first hand and it's been a hell of a 10-year journey, I can tell you. So that’s one of the things that drives me every day. I do it for people like him,” Morden told CTV News.
Rally organizers are planning another event for next month. Construction on the site is expected to begin in April. Once open, it will be operated by Coast Mental Health.