Neighbours concerned about Allwood Estates homeless camps

Makeshift weapon found behind local business, as neighbours say property owner should do more.

This weapon

This weapon

An Allwood Street business owner says a mace-like weapon he discovered last week shows that the demolition of trailers at the former Allwood Estates Mobile Home Park hasn’t alleviated concerns surrounding the property.

Last week, Seung Yong Lee, who runs Master Lee’s Tae Kwon Do School on Allwood Street, found the bladed weapon in the parking lot behind his small building. He has also seen paint splashed on the back of his building, graffiti stenciled on the wall, and a water tap vandalized.

A tent surrounded by mounds of garbage sits just metres from the fence separating his parking lot from the former trailer park. Barely visible, abutting his building, is another tent under a large tree.

Other camps, along with several shopping carts, are visible in other portions of the property. There are several places where a single person could squeeze through fencing into the lot, but on Monday morning, Lee arrived to find that a gate, adorned with a No Trespassing sign, had been broken down.

The property is owned by Onni Group and slated for development. Earlier this year, the final trailers at the former park were demolished, and piles of concrete are still visible.

Lee is worried about property crime a nearby business had its fence scaled last weekend, although nothing was taken. He’s also concerned about the possibility of a fire, especially once winter arrives and homeless residents begin using heating devices.

In June, a trailer went up in flames. Lee is particularly worried about a fire starting at the bottom of a tree that shelters a homeless camper and hangs over his business.

“If a fire happens again, it could get to our building,” he said.

Abbotsford Police spokesperson Const. Ian MacDonald said police have received fewer complaints about the property since the trailers came down.

He said the main concern is the possibility of a fire, but said the area is patrolled and the owners of the property have been “extremely co-operative.” The main problem has been the site’s fence, which is repeatedly cut open to gain access.

But Lee said more should be done, particularly by the property owners.

The campers currently living on the property next to his building have been there for several months, he said, although his attempts to contact Onni representatives have been unsuccessful.

The city says building permits for the first several buildings on the property are currently under review, but Lee said that until construction begins on the site, security needs to be stepped up.

“The owners have to wake up and see what’s going on,” he said.

Onni Group did not respond to requests for comment.