An example of graffiti that is scrawled on the front landing of the building. (Colleen Flanagan-THE NEWS)

An example of graffiti that is scrawled on the front landing of the building. (Colleen Flanagan-THE NEWS)

Maple Ridge film studio plagued by vandalism as owner waits to reopen

Ridge Studios’ doors closed March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic

A Maple Ridge film company that has been hard hit because of the COVID-19 pandemic is suffering even more due to vandalism and attempted break-ins to its studio in the heart of downtown.

The Ridge Studios, located along 119th Avenue at 224 Street, has been closed since March 11.

And while owner John Wittmayer and studio liaison Alicia Albrecht wait anxiously for movie and television productions to begin again in Phase 3 of B.C.’s Restart Plan, the studio has been vandalized time and again.

Three windows have been smashed in the front alcove area along 119 Avenue in the past two months.

One of the windows even had a blowtorch used on it.

READ MORE: New Netflix series filmed at Maple Ridge film studio

A chain holding a metal gate at the back of the studio has been replaced four times during the same time frame.

And people have literally ripped out brackets from the wall trying to get the gate off.

Graffiti is scrawled all over the top of the landing at the entrance to the building.

And, said Albrecht, to top it off, she often finds needles by the front doors and human feces in their back parking lot and, she said, the area stinks like urine.

“I know the police do what they can,” said Albrecht, but she is frustrated because, she says, the perpetrators are just “shooed” away.

So far, she says, they have spent about $3,000 to $4,000 on windows alone and another $200 on chains and locks.

They are hoping to install at gate across the front of the studio, but that is going to cost them more than $3,000.

And that’s money they just don’t have right now, said Albrecht.

READ MORE: Film studio getting set up in downtown Maple Ridge

The Ridge Studios has had zero income since the pandemic hit.

There are production companies gearing up for filming, but they keep pushing their dates as they await a go-ahead from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Currently they have been contacted by four smaller low budget productions and one television series that is wanting to be in the studio filming for six months.

“They’ve booked. They’ve signed the contracts. They’ve literally just been waiting and pushing until it’s the time that’s most suitable for the circumstances,” said Albrecht.

In 2019, the Netflix murder mystery series The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco was filmed at the studio. Other titles since the studio opened in 2015 include: Beverly Hills 90210; Kindergarten Cop 2; and many made-for-TV movies.

If the studio is allowed to open its doors to productions soon, Albrecht thinks the studio will be able to bounce back.

However, if Stage 3 of the reopening plan doesn’t come soon, Albrecht says it could be a different story.

“If things don’t improve and we keep sitting in this stagnant situation where we are not really getting any ideas if the film industry is a go or not really a go, then it’s not going to do so well,” she said.

“There’s a lot of bills to pay for a building that’s 25,000 square feet.”


 

cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Film industryMaple Ridge

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Alicia Albrecht with The Ridge Studios holds a chain at the back gate that has had to be replaced four times over the past two months. (Colleen Flanagan-THE NEWS)

Alicia Albrecht with The Ridge Studios holds a chain at the back gate that has had to be replaced four times over the past two months. (Colleen Flanagan-THE NEWS)

Just Posted

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Constituent does not consider MP’s ‘unclean’ use a slur

Local letter writer said the biblical quote was not an insult to gay MP

A Worksafe BC temporary closure order posted on the front entrance of the Langley Canadian Tire on Thursday, April 29. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
First Langley business in several days hit by COVID-19 closure order

A plumbing company is the latest to have to shut down temporarily

Acting RCMP Supt. Bhatti told council property crime in Langley City took a “significant” drop in the first three months of the year, but the number of mail theft incidents more than doubled (City of Langley video feed)
VIDEO: Property crime drops in Langley City: report

Reduction called ‘significant’ by acting officer in charge of Langley RCMP detachment

Matt Trulsen of Maple Ridge went on from the PJHL to excel in junior college hockey in the U.S. (Dakota College at Bottineau/Special to The News)
B.C. goaltender excels in U.S. junior college

Matt Trulsen, brother of the late Noah, calls community support ‘amazing’

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Ripy Jubbal of Abbotsford has received a 30-month jail sentence for the fraudulent use of credit cards and credit card data. (Facebook photo)
Abbotsford woman sentenced for $80K in fraudulent credit card purchases

Ripy Jubbal and spouse used identities of 19 different victims, court hears

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

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

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

Most Read