Mixed input on proposal to allow housing for homeless

Gladys Avenue rezoning proposal could allow for supportive housing

Community members attended a meeting on a proposal to rezone a site on Gladys Avenue for supportive housing.

Community members attended a meeting on a proposal to rezone a site on Gladys Avenue for supportive housing.

A proposal to rezone land in the downtown area to allow for supportive housing – for homeless or people at-risk of homelessness with support services on site –has once again led to a variety of opinions.

Residents came out on Wednesday night to a public meeting to hear more about the city’s proposal to rezone land, located on the west side of Gladys Avenue, north of George Ferguson Way.

The meeting at Gateway Community Church gave residents a chance to ask questions and submit their opinions.

The meeting focused on the necessary official community plan (OCP) and zoning amendment for the properties. There is currently no proposal or funding in place for an actual project on the site.

When the proposal was announced, city manager George Murray said that due to challenges in the past to supportive housing projects at the rezoning stage, the city is seeking to proactively rezone the sites.

In February of this year, an application from Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) to build a men’s 21-bed supportive housing project at 2048 Montvue Ave. was defeated by council on a tied vote.

Murray said the proposal follows protocol in other cities that rezone land for those types of uses in hopes of getting grants and support from the provincial housing agency BC Housing.

Mary Kauss, who lives near the proposed site, had concerns about the ACS site and continues to have them about the new proposed location, citing the proximity to schools such as Dogwood School on Pine Street.

She said she’s worried about increased police incidents and the impact on property values.

“I didn’t agree with it then either because of it being in the downtown core with the businesses. They put so much money into fixing up the downtown core to bring people in for shopping, but yet,then they want to put something like that there.”

Kauss has already experienced crime at her home – her vehicle has been broken into and a bike has been stolen. She worries about a potential increase.

She said the city needs a rehab centre and a stepping stone apartment for people once they complete rehab.

“Not all of them are going to want to go into this housing anyway, so it’s not going to solve the actual problem of homeless on the streets.”

But Lloyd Walker, on the other side of the downtown area, said he thinks the rezoning should go forward.

“The problem is here (downtown), whether they build it here or elsewhere.”

Walker said it would be better for the homeless to have a roof over their heads and meals to eat than leaving them on the streets. He tries to volunteer doing cleanup in the downtown, and “if you have a conversation with these people some are quite amazing,” he said.

“We need to start doing something. Let’s not do nothing.”

The total BC Assessment value of the properties to be rezoned is currently $876,300, according to Katherine Treloar, the city’s director of communications. However, she said it’s important to note that the current assessed value is tied to the existing zoning of the properties, and that the city does not anticipate all the properties would need to be used for a housing project.

A representative for BC Housing told The News the announcement from the city is a positive step and once the rezoning is completed, they will “examine the options that are available.”

When asked if the money available for the ACS project – BC Housing was set to provide about $2.5 million in capital and $15 million in operating funds over 60 years – has yet been designated to another project, the agency responded:

“Since Abbotsford city council rejected Abbotsford Community Services’ proposal for 20 units of supportive housing for men who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, the money that would have been invested in that project remains with BC Housing. No decision has been made on how the funds will be distributed.”

The rezoning proposal will go to council for consideration this month.

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

Just Posted

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

A memorial to former Abbotsford and RCMP police officer Shinder Kirk in Cedar, B.C. Kirk died in a car accident on Cedar Road in December 2018. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Trial begins for driver involved in car crash that killed retired Abbotsford police sergeant

RCMP accident reconstructionist takes stand in trial of Conrad Nikolaus Wetten

This vehicle is suspected of being involved in a suspicious incident on Friday (May 7) on Mouat Drive in Abbotsford.
Driver in Abbotsford tries to lure teen girl into his vehicle

Man tells 14-year-old that her mom sent him to pick her up

The map shows the number of COVID-19 cases for the week of April 25 to May 1. The darkest areas indicate communities with a daily average of more than 20 cases per 100,000 population. (BC Centre of Disease Control)
Surrey and Abbotsford battle for top COVID hotspot in Fraser Health

Two communities are among areas across province showing highest transmission

Michael Proud, a clinical nurse educator at Mission Memorial Hospital, standing outside the hospital. Patrick Penner photo.
Local nurses shine perspective on the last year through COVID-19

Stressors, challenges and successes on the pandemic’s front line

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil Friday evening (May 7) to remember 29-year-old corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, who was killed in last weekend’s brazen daylight shooting outside North Delta’s Scottsdale Centre mall. (James Smith photo)
Hundreds gather to remember victim of North Delta shooting

Corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, was killed in what police say was a targeted incident

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

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

Most Read