Maple Ridge funeral chapel says vandalism, disorder has reached breaking point

A Maple Ridge, B.C., funeral home is pleading for help regarding the state of public disorder and safety in its community.

Nathan Logue from Garden Hill Cremation and Funeral Services posted a video on Facebook showing the damage he says staff are met with almost every morning.

The video shows broken windows and destroyed flower beds, along with needles, garbage and human feces.

My concerns here is that there isn’t enough support for the people that are causing damages to the local businesses, and that the city is not able to provide the necessary services for these people to get help,” Logue said.

“We have plenty of help with community safety officers and private security to move people along, but it’s not preventing destruction.”

Logue said they might consider moving after being in the location for more than 30 years, even though they don’t want to.

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“We’re a hardworking, small family business,” he said.

“And the good portion of the start of our day is cleaning up after these instances.”

Click to play video: 'Open drug use in Maple Ridge Tim Hortons'

Open drug use in Maple Ridge Tim Hortons

Logue said they deal with grieving families and they don’t need the added stress and distraction of garbage and disorder in front of the funeral home.

“If you think of it, we’ve cleaned it up,” he said. “Human feces, needles, oil, old clothes, just lots of dirty stuff. Right? It takes a pretty strong stomach to clean up some of the things we’re having to clean up.”

Logue said every business in the neighbourhood has reported an issue with social disorder and he became so frustrated he decided to post the video online.

“I got out of my car and walked open the gate, and I found flowers strewn all the way along,” he said.

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“And I thought, OK, you know, somebody pulled out our bulbs. That happens all the time. I walked up and there was debris everywhere. Another broken window, we’d seen, you know, four times in the last two months. I walked around the corner and noticed soil everywhere and rhododendrons destroyed, and the potted plants were just all ripped up. And I was frustrated.”

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Click to play video: 'Theft, threats force Maple Ridge business to move'

Theft, threats force Maple Ridge business to move

Ridge Meadows RCMP said it is taking steps to ensure that police remain visible and accessible to businesses and residents in the downtown core.

“Beginning May 22, 2024, the Ridge Meadows RCMP in concert with the City of Maple Ridge will be hosting pop-up Community Safety Tents, to provide support to local businesses and offer an opportunity to chat with police about concerns they may have,” RCMP said in a release.

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“Community Safety Tents are planned to occur weekly for several weeks at various locations and times which will be announced soon.

“Additionally, businesses and residents in the Maple Ridge Town Centre can expect to see an increase in visible police presence in the next several weeks within our downtown core.”

Logue said they need help because they are proud to do business in Maple Ridge and proud to call Maple Ridge home.

“We need places for these people to go,” he said.

“You can’t just put them into social housing in our neighbourhood, because that gives them a bed to sleep in and a place to leave their things. But then they come out and they’re getting high and destroying the property and ruining the community that I grew up in and that we serve in”

Click to play video: 'Maple Ridge city councillor upset police aren’t charging break and enter suspect'

Maple Ridge city councillor upset police aren’t charging break and enter suspect

Ahmed Yousef, a city councillor, told Global News that Logue’s story isn’t unique and downtown businesses are suffering.

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“Over the last year or so, we’ve had numerous vandalism cases, glass being broken, doors being kicked in at some of our shops … and actually there was one at a non-profit organization here,” he said.

“The library has suffered the same thing. It’s rampant. And I can’t fathom or understand why the need and the drive to destroy other people’s property. It’s not even the break-in and thefts anymore. It’s just destruction for the sake of destruction.”

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Yousef said businesses are having to spend money to fix the vandalism and destruction but clients are also becoming too scared to patronize those businesses so they are losing money on both sides.

“I tip my hat to our downtown Business Improvement Association for not only also working very closely with the city and with the security company that we have, looking after our downtown area, as well as the community safety officers, but even implementing and looking for, acquiring cameras that would be at eye level to be placed in shops in case of something happening,” he said.

However, the community safety officers and the private security company come at a price to the taxpayers of Maple Ridge.

“In Maple Ridge where 93 per cent dependent on residential taxes, only seven per cent of our tax base is commercial industrial, so our residents are the ones that are paying the price, not only because they operate their mom-and-pop shops and they operate their private businesses… but now the third layer of it is the fact that their taxes are increasing in order to pay for all these services that we must provide for them.”

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Click to play video: 'Shop overcomes devastating vandalism again'

Shop overcomes devastating vandalism again

Yousef said the solution needs to be a wholesome one.

“We can’t bury our heads in the sand and think that everything is OK and it’s working because it hasn’t,” he said.

“The decriminalization issue, the open drug use issue, these are all problems that have caused what we are experiencing today. There needs to be a significant shift in philosophy towards treatment, on demand, towards having that, as you mentioned, possibly mandatory treatment.”