Monday, November 23, 2009

Body not the first at Northumberland

I am not sure if this is the second or third time a body has been discovered at Northumberland Court. The District continues to set one deadline or the other. Suddenly the notion of a 'deadline' has taken on a new meaning for the residents of Northumberland Court. This structure is in urgent need of demolition and no the tinkering that passes for renovation which is currently underway (or at least that is what we are told).

Sadly less than surprising news from Fraser Street, Haney, Maple Ridge

Body found near Northumberland

Canwest News

Published: Monday, November 23, 2009
Maple Ridge's most notorious housing complex might be connected to a gruesome discovery Friday night.

Ridge Meadows RCMP and the B.C. Coroner's office are investigating the sudden death of a 27-year-old Mission man.

Police, and members of the B.C. Ambulance Service, were called to a residence in the 11600 block of Fraser Street at approximately 7 p.m. Friday November 20, where they found the lifeless body of a Mission man.  The coroner attended to the scene, and arranged for the man's body to be taken to hospital, and an autopsy has been ordered.

Foul play is not suspected. Police confirm that the man had been shot in the foot, but it is not felt the wound caused his death, and that he died from other causes, which will be determined through the autopsy. Investigation into the death, and the gunshot wound, is continuing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shameless leadership leads to shameful acts

Haney is now a priority. Not that anyone cares.

Once more the attempt will be to keep this short.  As was mentioned in the last update, another stolen vehicle was found this week at Northumberland Court.

Really nothing new with that; as well there is nothing new with prostitutes working out of a trailer at the back of Northumberland Court.

There is also nothing new with the city not addressing these problems.  The city has been well aware of these problems historically, and is well aware of these current problems and everyone knows that they are choosing not to act on the most serious issues facing this community.

After the much heralded reports on the conditions at Northumberland Court came out eight months ago the city still didn't act.  In council chambers fists were shaken and strong words were said and then after a few more months, violent acts and dangerous situations the city started to stumble along and go for what they figured would be the easy targets and this week they certainly found one.

You see this week instead of shutting down the suites that have been raided by the police numerous times, or shutting down the suites that have the stolen vehicles at them, or instead of shutting down the suites that have the prostitutes working out of them, guess which suite the city shuts down?

If your guess is the suite with an elderly man on disability, who has had two strokes and gets around using canes you would be correct.  You see, if you are running a prostitution ring, or chop shop, you get extensions from the city to carry on this business as you have done for last four to five years, because as the city has said for many years 'it's complicated, we've done all we can'.

But, if you are an elderly man on disability, what you get is a disgusting spectacle of screaming and crying that ends up with what any individual with a bit of decency would know is wrong, and the reason that it is allowed to happen is because it's easy.

Go no further than fifty feet and find stolen vehicles and prostitution, but be an elder man at Northumberland Court, well its time to go.
This is called leadership in Maple Ridge and if anyone find this disgusting the mayor's email along with the director of bylaws, who is the one quarter back this debacle should be used to let them know this is a despicable way to try and solve this problem.

This is one of the emails that everyone is encouraged to send around to whomever they think needs to be informed  because it is a given that the current extensions will be followed up by more extensions so count on more chaos, more crack sales and of course more stolen vehicles showing up.

If the city wishes to give their reasoning for their recent actions and just as important their inaction's they are encouraged to do so.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Northumberland is the District's Northslumberland

Small-time criminals and bent landlords have the District of Maple Ridge on its knees

In an attempt to keep this update short we'll skip over the stolen vehicle found at Northumberland Court the other day as well as the prostitutes working out of the trailer behind Northumberland Court, which by the way gets its power from an extension cord that is hooked up to an outlet in one of the suites that is supposed to be shut down by the city. 

What will be focused on is rumour and hearsay.  It would be nice to have facts and dates but given how many deadlines that have been missed it seems better to stick to what people in the community are saying is going to happen rather than believing what the city says it is going to do, only to have them not do it. 

Without a doubt Northumberland is starting to slide again.  The aforementioned stolen vehicles and on site prostitution are examples of this.  But what is being heard in the community is that the city will make another attempt to shut down suites 17& 18.  Organizations have reached out to the individuals currently residing in suites 17 & 18, which were supposed to be vacated on November 1st and though there were opportunities for the tenants to take these housing opportunities they were rejected.  

The other thing being heard is that the majority owner has gotten a manager to deal with his suites at Northumberland Court.  This is a bit odd seeing as the city should have closed down these suites so it is hard to say what there is to manage, but hopefully this individual understands how the community around Northumberland Court is sick and tired of this ongoing disaster and will act accordingly.

That's it for now.  If there is action on closing down more suites at Northumberland an update will be sent out with this news.  Let's hope the city acts as it should, and indeed as it said it would.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

British Columbia is so bogged down in regulations, it is a miracle of bureaucracy the place exists at all

Liberals and NDP should get behind the mining industry


British Columbia has been faithful to the federal Conservative Party. In the election a year ago, it returned 22 Conservative MPs to the House of Commons and gave the party 44 per cent of the vote. Only nine New Democrats and five Liberals were sent to Ottawa from the province, drawing 26 per cent and 19 per cent of the vote respectively.

The Conservative ridings represent the heartland, the locus of B.C.'s vast resource wealth. Mining rules in these regions where deposits of gold, copper, zinc and coal have attracted people and investment for 150 years. The value of mineral sales in B.C. last year was $6.6 billion, and roughly 14 per cent of provincial exports, or $4.6 billion, was metallic minerals and fabricated metal products.

In 2008, the mining industry paid government $545 million in direct taxes, levies and payments related to employment. Speaking of jobs, mining companies employed 7,607 workers directly last year while the B.C. government figures the mineral and metal economy accounts for 28,000 jobs. And these are highly paid jobs. Average annual compensation in salary and benefits tops $112,000.

The provincial government seems to understand all this and has taken steps to enhance B.C.'s mining industry's competitiveness. For example, harmonizing the provincial sales tax with the federal goods and services tax, which the government has promised to do in July 2010, is expected to reduce the cost of building a mine by $10 million and cut operating expenses by $1 million a year. The province has also given a green light to a $404-million transmission line through northwestern B.C. that could create $15 billion in private investment. The federal government has pledged to cover $130 million of the cost.

Yet no major mines of sufficient size to replace the soon-to-close Kemess and Huckleberry mines have been opened in more than a decade. The main stumbling block is regulation; specifically, a duplicate approval process that delays projects for years.

B.C. has argued that Ottawa should leave regulation and permitting to the provinces to prevent delays in developing mines. But the federal government is dragging its feet, apparently because some provinces are not ready to take on that responsibility. B.C. boasts a relatively efficient environmental assessment process and there's no need for Ottawa to conduct its own. The federal government could simply rubber stamp B.C.'s rulings under a bilateral agreement -- of the sort it routinely negotiates with Quebec. The state of other provincial regulatory regimes need not be a factor.

Perhaps the Conservative government is wary of taking on the potentially controversial issue of relinquishing control over environmental assessments of mining projects while in a minority position. But other parties should see that it is in their interest to support the measure.
Outside the urban areas, NDP strength is in Skeena and the southern Interior. Skeena is home to Galore Creek, a property held jointly by NovaGold and Teck Resources, thought to be one of the world's largest undeveloped copper-gold-silver deposits. It is also the location of the Red Chris mine, approved by the province in 2005, but tied up ever since by the federal process and litigation.

In the southern Interior, Copper Mountain, with a reserve of five billion pounds of copper, could be producing 100 million pounds a year by 2011 if the approvals process can be accelerated.
The federal NDP should align itself with those who want to develop these mines and create highly paid, unionized jobs. Incidentally, the mining industry is the largest private sector employer of first nations workers in the province.

Similarly, the federal Liberals must recognize that many of their urban supporters depend on the mining industry for their Howe Street jobs. About 60 per cent of Canadian exploration companies are based in B.C., most with headquarters in Vancouver. It is the nation's capital for exploration financing. Thousands of consulting, accounting, banking, legal, engineering and other professional jobs are closely tied to the mining industry.

All parties have common cause in helping the mining industry overcome this bureaucratic barrier and support the minority government when it proposes to delegate environmental impact and other assessments to the province.

Additionally, as we've urged before, the province needs to set up a one-stop approvals shop, like the Oil and Gas Commission, to allow the mining industry to realize its full potential.

Here's something else worth remembering

An Australian Definition of a Canadian 
In case anyone asks you who a Canadian is . . . 
You probably missed it in the local news, but there was a report that someone in Pakistan had advertised in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed a Canadian - any Canadian.. 
An Australian dentist wrote the following editorial to help define what a Canadian is, so they would know one when they found one. 
A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan. 
A Canadian may also be a Cree, M├ętis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux, or one of the many other tribes known as native Canadians.   A Canadian's religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none.   In fact, there are more Muslims in Canada than in Afghanistan. The key difference is that in Canada they are free to worship as each of them chooses. Whether they have a religion or no religion, each Canadian ultimately answers only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God. 
A Canadian lives in one of the most prosperous lands in the history of the world.. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which recognize the right of each  person to the pursuit of happiness. 
 A Canadian is generous and Canadians have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return. Canadians welcome the best of everything, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services and the best minds. 
But they also welcome the least -  the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected. 
These are the people who built Canada. You can try to kill a Canadian if you must as other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world have tried but in doing so you could just be killing a relative or a neighbour. This is because Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place.  They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom.   Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be a Canadian. 
Please keep this going!   Pass this around the World.   Then pass it around again.   
It says it all, for all of us. 
 'Keep your stick on the ice' 

Friday, November 06, 2009

From the Maple Ridge News Friday November 5 2009


1 What will the hazardous materials assessment reveal?
2 When will the repairs be completed?
3 What will the cost of repairs total?
4 Will the owner pay?
5 If the owner cannot pay or refuses to pay, what will the future be for Northumberland Court?
6 Will prostitution, drug manufacturing and dealing, and crime decline in Haney during the period the repairs are being done?
7 Is this the beginning of the revitalization of Haney (and the downtown core)?

Another deadline passes for Northumberland

Updated: November 05, 2009 4:30 PM

The deadline for the tenants in suites 17 and 18 at Northumberland Court to move out was Monday.

Bylaws director Brock McDonald said the district is now in a position to relocate the tenants.

“They will have to be out until the repairs are completed,” he added.

Four more suites must be vacated by Dec. 1.

The district is slowly relocating tenants from 10 apartments at the Fraser Street complex owned by Jack Athwal so it can begin to make the spaces safe.

Contractors are set to begin a hazardous material assessment on some of the suites that have already been emptied.

Maple Ridge has been trying to clean up Northumberland Court for several years.

In September, council passed a resolution authorizing the district to do safety repairs on 10 suites owned by Athwal. McDonald said all the tenants who live in the suites owned by Athwal were advised of the pending repairs via hand-delivered letters.

“The owner was given a deadline to complete the repairs and did not do them. Council made a resolution for the district to commence repairs and that’s what we are doing right now,” he added.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The District of Maple Ridge struggles to find contractors to work at Northumberland Court - owner prevails

All signs point towards the city limping along to try and fulfil its obligations when it comes to the clean up of Northumberland Court. Limping along is the best term because to quote an email from Maple Ridge bylaws manger Brock McDonald:

“The letter advised that Units 13, 14, 16, 17 and 18 must be vacated by November 1, 2009 ...”

It should come as no surprise that the city has missed their own deadline once again because 18 is still occupied. It speaks volumes for how seriously the city takes its responsibility on this issue.

Not including the suites where the city has failed to enforce its own deadline, there are four more Athwal suites that are supposed to be closed down for repairs by December 1st. If the city does act by December 1st on these suites, as well as the suites where the deadline has passed, this will signal that an end to this advocacy is on the horizon. This is not to say that the advocacy will stop over night, but if the city lives up to its word and shuts down the remaining Athwal apartments it is safe to say that sometime after December 1^st MRCCC will come to an end. That could be a big if considering city hall has missed two successive deadlines, so we'll see what happens.

Taking a leap of faith that the city will in the end live up to its word what will happen after that will be largely up to the community. Ideally a residents community association that could work on issues in conjunction with other downtown / south of Lougheed groups such as the Fraserview Community Association, or other similar groups that want to ensure that what has been gained is not lost due to neglect, or in-action on behalf of the city. South of Lougheed (Haney/downtown Maple Ridge) is still faced with a number of issues and a residents community association would be a step in the direction towards dealing with these issues through a united front.

The idea of promoting SCAN legislation will carry on, but will take the form of a provincial advocacy group. Because SCAN affects the whole province the hope is that citizens through out the province will take part in this initiative. Residents of Maple Ridge can still play an active and leading role in this process and all signs are that both MLA's are still committed to the idea of SCAN so this is an opportunity to create a positive long term affect for both the city and the province as a whole

As far as where SCAN legislation is within the mechanisms of government, it is safe to say that the first steps are just being taken. Getting legislation passed is a long, but doable journey. At this point there will be much in the way of discussions within the government and its many committees around how to, or if, the province should implement SCAN. What that implementation will look like and how it will work with other existing legislation and provincial acts.

In a nut shell legislation goes through three main sections which are the first, second and third readings. The real challenge though is to get legislation to the proposal stage, ideally for the Spring session so it can get to first reading. Before this can happen though, it must go to the legislative committee of the ruling government party. If SCAN can be put forward to the legislative committee this will begin the process. The other option is to have SCAN presented as a private member's bill. Nothing wrong with this on the face of it, but the truth of the matter is private member's bill rarely get passed.

The plan is that a website dedicated to the promotion of SCAN legislation will be posted in the early new year and the work can begin in earnest from that point.

In closing, this has been a long hard fought battle but one that needed to happen. Thanks to everyone that had the courage to stand up and demand their rights. Many things have come out of this experience and one that stands out is that rights on paper to not necessarily translate to rights one is supposed to experience day to day. If the government of the day does not respect your rights then you must be prepared to make that government respect them, because if you don't, those rights don't exist.

The ball is the city's court, they came up with the current time line so it is a question as to whether they will live up to it or let this carry on for who knows how long.

Thanks again to everyone that has participated. What has been accomplished would not have happened with out you.