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Video of Maple Ridge doughnut shop drug use goes viral

Mayor pledges there will be more uniforms in downtown
People who were said to be smoking hard drugs at the Tim Hortons Restaurant on 224th Street in Maple Ridge, in a still frame taken from a video. Their faces have been intentionally blurred. (Chelsa Meadus Facebook/Special to The News)

“Coffee or crack?” is the caption over the video a former Maple Ridge city councillor posted on her social media page, showing a man smoking something at a table at a Tim Hortons restaurant.

He appears to be using a pipe or tube, above a piece of tinfoil, and a puff of smoke appears over his head. An elderly woman can be seen in a booth directly beside his.

“This is your City of Maple Ridge are you proud?” asked Chelsa Meadus.

The video has gone viral, shared across many social media platforms and pages. It was also the subject of news reports over the weekend. Staff at the 224th Street/Lougheed Highway location reported that the drug fumes forced them to evacuate the restaurant, and it’s an ongoing problem.

There are 124 comments under the Meadus post, and the vast majority of comments are “Disgusting,” “Maple Ridge RCMP should be notified..”, “…now I can’t let my kids go to Tim Hortons without me…”, and “This is just brutal. Decriminalization seems to be working.”

Mike Farnworth, the BC Minister of Public Safety, also weighed in, saying he was disgusted by the video, and that the culprits should have been arrested and charged.

The Ridge Meadows RCMP did not respond to questions about the incident.

Meadus said she is no stranger to such scenes, staffing the nearby office of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MP Marc Dalton.

“I work very close to there, that’s something I see every day, but it seems to be worse,” she said. “People are no longer hiding their drug use.”

She said the city needs to tell the province what’s happening due to its decriminalization policies that allow possession of small amounts of hard drugs, including crack, meth and fentanyl.

“If the whole point was to reduce overdoses, then that’s a failed policy,” she said, noting that the number of overdoses from illicit drug use continues to climb.

Maple Ridge Mayor Dan Ruimy saw the video for the first time weeks ago, and had city staff and community safety officers visit the restaurant.

“As soon as I saw it, we had everyone mobilized,” said Ruimy.

Ruimy said the city is working to have more enforcement and visibility in the downtown core. For example, the new Project Sentinel announced by the Ridge Meadows RCMP will increase downtown patrols, and in the words of Superintendent Wendy Mehat when she announced the project, it will “help address public safety concerns of the business community.”

READ ALSO: Ridge Meadows RCMP announces new project to make downtown Maple Ridge safer

The city also has community safety officers, and private security companies who respond to business and citizen complaints during the later hours.

Ruimy said the onus is on business owners and management to tell people not to smoke or use drugs inside their buildings, or to call police, CSOs or Westridge Security to deal with the situation.

“It would have been responded to very quickly,” he said.

The city will try new initiatives, and is talking about having a “pop-up cop shop” at the corner of 224th Street and Lougheed Highway, and at other downtown locations, said Ruimy. Details are still being firmed up.

Last summer’s Project Dovetail brought more RCMP, city bylaws and Westridge Security into the downtown, and shoplifting incidents were cut in half. That proved having more uniforms visible makes an impact, said Ruimy.

READ ALSO: Maple Ridge shoplifting cases drops 53% thanks to new RCMP project

Ruimy also spoke against people with political ambitions using a serious issue to score political points. The city image and downtown entrepreneurs took a hit, he said.

“Enough with the rage farming,” he said. “Let’s not use our city as cannon fodder for the next political election.

“I’m trying to find solutions.”

Both he and Meadus said Victoria needs to provide treatment for those battling addiction.

“The province needs to step up with recovery homes, and they need homes for people on the streets,” said Ruimy.

Meadus said the province should supply more than that – she would ask for more CSOs to police open drug use brought about by decriminalization.

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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