Mayor Ruimy Statement – Province Bans Drug Use in Public Spaces

The brick Municipal Hall towers over some small shrubs and greenery with a tree in the background. Below the picture are black text on a blue background proclaiming "Mayor's statement on province bans drug use in public spaces."

Maple Ridge, B.C., April 26, 2024 - I am pleased to see that today, the B.C. government has moved to ban drug use in open spaces, making it illegal to consume illicit drugs in all public spaces, including parks, restaurants and hospitals.

It’s clear that there were many concerns voiced from stakeholders such as the police, and residents in communities around drug use in public spaces. Although, the intention of this policy was to de-stigmatize drug users, it led to negative impacts on public safety. Most importantly, the police’s ability to enforce the safety of the public including children, youth, families, and other vulnerable populations was significantly undermined.

Municipalities have been asking for the provincial and federal governments to support the ban on open drug use and provide the necessary supports to address mental health and drug addiction. This ban will restore a better balance to manage the complex issue of drug addiction with what we have learned throughout this process.

We have an obligation to those facing homelessness, mental health issues and addictions, but we also have an overarching responsibility to our broader community, that includes public safety and making sure our streets, parks and neighbourhoods are livable, safe and open to all.

I support these changes which show that the Provincial government has listened and responded to the growing public concerns about the impacts that arose and the need for people to feel safe in public spaces. Keeping our community safe is always our top priority and this is a step in the right direction.

- 30 - 

For additional information, contact: 
Katerina Anastasiadis, Manager of Intergovernmental Affairs 
T 604 466 7398