Rally held to support Anita Place tent city residents in Maple Ridge

Natalia Cuevas-Huaico/ March 6, 2019

Opposing views faced off during a rally organized by supporters of the Anita Place tent city in Maple Ridge last night.

The rally was organized by the Alliance Against Displacement when residents of the tent city were kicked out over fire safety concerns.

There were roughly 40 people attending in support of the rally, while an opposing group of locals were stationed across the street to express their concerns with the structure and safety of the tent city.

A former resident at Anita Place, Justin Tottenham, wants the city of Maple Ridge to take initiative and create permanent social housing at the apartment building across the street.

“We need affordable housing – we need a building – something where we can house the people,” expressed Tottenham.

He goes on to add that Anita Place is a group of people in one isolated area that protect each other.

He says that if the people living in Anita Place lacked the community setting they gained from the tent city, many of them would have dropped dead if they were alone in the streets.

A local living near Anita Place in Maple Ridge, Joe, says the tent community would be acceptable if it had structure and order.

He says the group of campers should not be given the apartment for social permanent housing and instead they should be put in treatment and then given a place to live and afford once they are clean.

The city of Maple Ridge has announced they will be drafting a social housing plan by next week.

In the meantime local authorities will be barricading Anita Place and former residents of the tent city will be staying in a temporary shelter.

With files from Jenny Cameron, Jeff Malo and Austin Czerwinski (BCIT News).