A member of one of the larger social media groups opposing a controversial Maple Ridge homeless camp is denying any of its members are behind threats against the camp and the city’s mayor.
Last week, before the city received any injunction against the camp, residents had their belongings taken away by city bylaw staff.
That brought out activists for and against the site, prompting demonstrations outside Maple Ridge city hall on Saturday.
Grover Telford, a member of the Facebook group Protecting Maple Ridge, says while its 6,000 members may be frustrated with the situation, he doesn’t think they would go as far as making threats.
“There’s no way that they’re going to take the law into their own hands,”
Telford also denies any of the group’s members are behind the reported threats made against Mayor Nicole Read’s safety, or the gun-shaped hand gestures allegedly made to camp residents.
“If anything like that may have happened it wouldn’t represent our group at all… It doesn’t mean it wasn’t a childish stunt or whatever, we don’t know at this point.”
Telford says he would condemn any such action coming from the group, but he doesn’t believe its members would do such a thing.
“I wouldn’t have to say anything because they’re not the type of people who would do that,” Telford says.
Despite the opioid crisis hitting every community in B.C., when it comes to why issues with the homeless camp are starting to arise, Telford says Maple Ridge stands out as an attractive destination for homeless people with addictions.
“Before the new mayor stepped into power, we had a homeless situation to some degree, but the count was never as high as it is now. I’m talking hundreds of people who have been housed in the local community.”
However, the camp residents CKNW spoke to say they have lived in Maple Ridge their whole lives.
In January, B.C. Housing submitted two proposals for permanent locations for a new homeless shelter within Maple Ridge.
Both of those proposals were axed, however, after heated public opposition.