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Premier and Opposition leader cross swords over Maple Ridge homeless housing

Falcon accuses Eby of not releasing report into serious problems at Royal Crescent
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BC United leader Kevin Falcon in a Facebook video at the Royal Crescent modular housing site in Maple Ridge. (BC United/Special to The News)

B.C.’s Premier and Opposition leader have been verbally sparring over the Royal Crescent supportive housing facility in Maple Ridge.

BC United Leader Kevin Falcon had some pointed criticisms for the government in a recently released social media video.

Premier David Eby responded when he was visiting in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows on Friday, July 14.

Falcon was on site at Royal Crescent for the video, in which he said the facility was built and imposed on the community in 2018.

“Now, the local residents really objected to having this so-called supportive housing project here, because they’re concerned about the impact it would have with area residents, most of whom are seniors, including a daycare just kitty-corner from the site.”

He said the concerns were well founded, because there have been more than 12 deaths at the site.

“There has been all kinds of criminality, including assaults, drug dealing, criminality amongst the staff and residents, and it’s created chaos in the surrounding community,” said Falcon.

He said the NDP was forced to do an independent report about the site, but the government is not releasing the report to the public.

READ ALSO: Government orders review of Maple Ridge modular housing

“It’s incredible that David Eby is sitting on yet another damning housing report — this one stemming from serious and potentially deadly concerns at an NDP-built temporary modular housing site,” said Falcon. “British Columbians deserve to know what is going on in government-run housing, especially if potential mismanagement is costing people’s lives. Premier Eby must instruct Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon to immediately release the report into the Royal Crescent modular housing site, and be honest with British Columbians about its findings.”

READ ALSO: BC Premier visiting Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows on Friday

Touring locations in Maple Ridge with local MLAs on July 14, Eby said the Royal Crescent report is complete, and is not being withheld.

“My understanding is the report was done in April. It’s been provided to the city of Maple Ridge. They and BC Housing are reviewing it, and BC Housing is doing the work on the recommendations that were provided in that report.”

He said the report will be released publicly before the end of the summer.

He agreed it’s unacceptable that people have been living in substandard housing, because the province could not come to an agreement with the last city council.

“This is a housing development that should have been closed a long time ago,” added Eby. “It’s not appropriate – it was built on a temporary basis. We got into a big problem with the last city council about trying to relocate it. I’m very grateful we have a new city council that wants to work with us on closing off this issue – closing that decrepit building and putting people into decent housing and moving forward on this,”

“The report’s going to help us make sure that whether it’s this site or other sites, people have the care that they need when they’re in housing,” he said. “But this is a pretty specific situation that should have been addressed a long time ago.”

Work is underway on a new 52-unit supportive housing facility on Fraser and 224th Streets that will replace the Royal Crescent modular housing, which were only intended as a temporary facility.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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