ADBA receives threat following opposition to proposed housing for the homeless

Note written on door says 'shut up or else'

'You need to shut up or else' was written on the door of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association

'You need to shut up or else' was written on the door of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association

“You need to shut up or else.”

That phrase was scrawled on the door of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA), discovered on Thursday morning.

The words were written over a notice the ADBA had posted, calling for the public to sign a petition against a 20-unit housing project for homeless men proposed by Abbotsford Community Services (ACS).

Tina Stewart, executive director of the ADBA, said she felt taken aback by the threat but not entirely surprised, due to the controversy that has sprung up since the proposal was announced last month.

“I would hope it’s an idle threat, but it’s obviously a threat.”

Abbotsford Police Department responded to the ABDA’s call about the vandalism.

Rod Santiago, executive director of ACS, called the incident “very unfortunate,” and said ACS does not condone such behaviour and no one should resort to any other means than respectful dialogue to address the issue.

Stewart thinks the threat came from a supporter of the project. However, she said she is concerned that the vandalism is “the tip of the iceberg,” in what will continue to be a divisive proposal for stakeholders in the downtown.

The proposed facility would providing housing for homeless men for up to two years. It would be a low-barrier facility, meaning those who use drugs or alcohol would not be turned away. The proposed location is at 2408 Montvue Ave., next to ACS.

Stewart said she understands that there are valid opinions on both sides of the argument, but that interests of the ADBA have been overlooked or misunderstood. The ADBA’s petition explains that the majority of business owners in the downtown do not support the project, but it is “not a NIMBY situation.”

The petition states the ADBA has spent a decade turning the downtown from an area with a bad reputation into a productive area for business. The ADBA objects to placing a low-barrier housing unit in the downtown area because it is located near bars and liquor stores and far from grocery stores. Another concern is that it would bring drug and alcohol users to the location, which is close to many businesses and 350 metres from an elementary school.

Santiago explained that the facility uses a “housing first” model, which is based on the idea that it is difficult to address issues of substance abuse or mental health until people have a roof over their heads. ACS states that unlike a temporary emergency shelter, the proposed centre will be a stable home for clients while they access services.

Stewart said that the ADBA does not oppose providing assistance to the homeless, which is involved in many projects that help vulnerable citizens – but the organization maintains the project would have a severely negative impact on businesses.

ACS will host an open house on July 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. at its location at 2420 Montrose Ave. Representatives of the ADBA will also be present, and the public is welcome to attend and ask questions.

Just Posted

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

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

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

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

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Most Read