White Rock Coun. Helen Fathers (centre) and Kimberly Martin speak with Ryan Ashe in April.

White Rock Coun. Helen Fathers (centre) and Kimberly Martin speak with Ryan Ashe in April.

Big brother located in hospital

The sister of White Rock’s much-discussed homeless man finally knows where her older brother is.

It took a week and a trip to Peace Arch Hospital, but the sister of White Rock’s much-discussed homeless man finally knows where her older brother is.

But Orphee Martin said she still doesn’t know what will happen to Ryan Ashe once doctors have completed a psychiatric assessment of him.

“I actually traced him down to Peace Arch Hospital, and he can have visitors,” Martin said Monday. “He’s there and he seems to be fine.

“It’s just a question of what happens after that?”

Authorities removed Ashe and his belongings from his ‘camp’ at a Thrift Avenue bus stop on Oct. 5. The 56-year-old – who has been a fixture in White Rock for decades – had been there since late April, following a request from city officials to vacate a bus stop on Johnston Road at Thrift.

At that time, Mayor Wayne Baldwin told Peace Arch News the request was the result of complaints from area residents, and in the interest of Ashe’s own safety, in light of  nearby development getting underway.

Ashe’s location was “starting to become a bit of a safety issue,” Baldwin said.

Last month, a letter to the editor from an area resident concerned about Ashe’s negative impact on the city sparked a flurry of passionate debate.

There has also been speculation that the complaint triggered Ashe’s recent removal.

Officials have been reluctant to comment on the situation.

Requests by PAN to both the city and RCMP have been referred to Fraser Health. Fraser Health spokesman Roy Thorpe-Dorward said confidentiality rules prevent him from commenting on a specific patient, though he noted that if an individual is picked up under the Mental Health Act, two psychiatrists would have to sign off in order to keep the patient in hospital on an involuntary basis.

Martin – who learned of her brother’s relocation through a phone call from Coun. Helen Fathers – said that from what she’s seen over the years, the act does little to protect people who are mentally ill. Her father had Ashe assessed many years ago, she said, and all that happened was he was prescribed medication which he eventually stopped taking.

“There’s no way to force him to take it. It just becomes that circle of pointlessness. This has been the system for 20-some years, when they moved people out of institutions and they suddenly decided everybody had the right to be insane… that just does not seem to make sense to me. Maybe it’s cheaper to leave them on the streets.”

Martin is also not convinced the recent move to hospitalize Ashe was made out of concern for her brother’s health.

“I don’t think they’ve decided to get him some help so much as to get him off the street,” she said.

“There’s obviously new development moving in, and they don’t wish to have people living on their park bench that are unsightly. That’s just ultimately what it comes down to.”

If it was about Ashe’s health, “they should’ve acted 18 years ago,” she said.

To those who argue that Ashe has always shrugged off offers of help, Martin said the argument doesn’t hold water.

“That’s fine if a person’s sane.”

She wonders if steps now are too little, too late.

“He’s essentially not going to see significant improvement,” Martin said. “Is there anything you can really do, or is it ultimately just cross your fingers and hope?”


Just Posted

White Rock beach was buzzing with activity on Father’s Day, which saw the temperatures in the area hit a record high. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock breaks 83-year-old weather record on Father’s Day

Temperature in city hit 28.7, beating 1938 mark by 1.5 degrees

This year’s Virtual Hike for Hospice raised just over $30,000 with the support of participants including Marlene. (Contributed photo)
PHOTOS: Virtual hike raises $30K for Peace Arch Hospice Society

Community support smashes fundraising goal

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

White Rock beach was buzzing with activity on Father’s Day. (Aaron Hinks photo)
PHOTOS: White Rock beach buzzing with activity on Father’s Day

High of 27C drew hundreds of people to the beach

SFN councillor Joanne Charles, White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker and Coun. David Chesney listen to welcoming remarks from Chief Harley Chappell (Xwopokton). (FIle photo)
White Rock, SFN grieve together on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Residents encouraged to wear orange on Canada Day

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Most Read