Monday, September 14, 2009

Northumberland Court moves towards closure, slowly but steadily

The following is from the Maple Ridge Concerned Citizens website:

Please come out and support them if you feel Haney has a future and role to play in the revitalization of the Maple Ridge downtown. Jack Athwal has by his negligence as a property owner opened the door to community action. The community has responded. And thankfully so has the District's politicians and staff.

With the council meeting on September 07 Maple Ridge city hall has begun what will hopefully be one the final chapters of Northumberland Court as it has been for the last several years.

The city has some very important decisions ahead of it in regards to the next moves at Northumberland Court. Though it sounds easy to say the repairs will be done, the cost of such repairs given the overall damage to some of the buildings it may be difficult to justify the costs of repairing privately owned structures using tax payer dollars. This issue is particularly thorny in that if the repairs are done but the management does not change there is a very good chance that everything will be back to how it was two years ago. Let's all hope if the repairs are done the situation does not back slide to how the sorry state that it was over the last few years.

The other issue that is still outstanding is the business license suspension of majority owner Jagdev (Jack) Singh Athwal and how the city plans to enforce its own suspension. It is understood from the September 07 meeting that the city should be getting its legal opinion this week as far as the enforcement options are concerned.

Even though there are still these two outstanding issues it cannot be denied that city has finally responded and has begun to take action. This does not mean that the problems that the neglect of Northumberland Court brought into the community of Haney will disappear in the next few weeks, but it does signal that a different approach will be needed, particularly to deal with the increase in prostitution along North Avenue.

For this reason the MRCCC will begin to wind down its operations with the final community meeting taking place on September 28th at the Fraserview Community Hall. The emphasis of this final meeting will be to encourage both Maple Ridge MLA's to enact SCAN legislation. This type of civil legislation was one of the missing pieces that allowed the situation at Northumberland Court to deteriorate so severally which lead to so many added problems in our community. I would encourage everyone who is available to come out and show your support for this legislation so that there is one more tool available to communities through out the province to deal with similar problems in their communities and neighbourhoods.

There will be a few more updates sent out before September 28th and then things will wrap up. Thanks to everyone that sent and email, made a phone call, wrote a letter, or performed any action that assisted city hall in waking up to how serious the problems in the area were.

Any assistance that can be given to help promote the meeting on the 28th is greatly appreciated. If you know anyone in the media please pass the website address to them to promote the meeting. There are extra promotional posters available at the Fraserview Community Hall 22610 - 116th , if you know of a location that a poster could go please pick one up and get it posted.

Thanks to everyone, it is not over yet, but after so many years things are moving forward as a result of community based action.

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