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Dealers preying on people getting welfare cheques in Langley City, building owner says

The area around a government office has seen an increasing number of incidents
Don Schmidt is the part-owner of a Langley City commercial building. He said dealers are preying on the clients of a government services building nearby, leading to increasing chaos in the parking lot. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

People passed out in the doorway, urine and feces, needles, and even a campfire in a doorway have become major problems for tenants and owners of a commercial building in Langley City.

Don Schmidt is a co-owner of the building in the 5700 block of Glover Road, close to the City’s downtown area.

The building next door hosts a Ministry of Social Development office, which has been there for many years. Among other things, the office is a place where many homeless and low income people can pick up social assistance cheques.

While there have been minor problems with litter in the past, over the past six months, Schmidt said it appears drug dealers are targeting the Social Development office’s clients before they can even leave the parking lot.

On a recent February day, he arrived and found three people passed out in the doorway of his building.

“I tried to rouse them without success,” Schmidt wrote in an open letter to Langley City council, the Langley RCMP, and provincial MLAs. He called the police and ambulance, but no one came for about two hours.

Watching the parking lot, ex-policeman Schmidt said “it became very clear who the drug dealers and predators were all around our parking lot and across the street.”

He blames the dealers for preying on the Ministry of Social Development clients.

“It’s just gotten worse in the last six months,” he said.

There’s been a lack of security in the parking lot on “welfare Wednesdays,” and the people passing out or being agitated due to drugs is alarming for those who work in or visit the businesses nearby.

The businesses in the building have lost staff and clients who don’t want to keep coming there, and now the tenants themselves are looking into moving out of the area.

Schmidt said he knows these problems are not unique to his building.

The large increase in the number of homeless people in Langley over the past two decades, and the ongoing toxic drug deaths crisis have affected many areas of the community.

Langley saw 41 deaths due to toxic drugs last year, and the latest report from the B.C. Coroners Service showed seven died in January alone this year.

Schmidt is hoping local politicians and the RCMP can take some action.

READ MORE: Deaths up in Langley from toxic drugs

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On a recent weekday in February, three people passed out in front of the door of a commercial building on Langley City’s Glover Road. (Don Schmidt/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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