Public meeting on proposed homeless camp on Aug. 28

Meeting will discuss official community plan amendment

A transitional camp for the homeless is proposed for this site on Valley Road.

A transitional camp for the homeless is proposed for this site on Valley Road.

A transitional housing camp for homeless people proposed for Valley Road will be the subject of a city-hosted public meeting on Aug. 28.

A group called the Abbotsford Dignitarian Society has proposed to create a sanctioned homeless community on a privately owned lot off the Abbotsford-Mission Highway.

The project received $10,000 from the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA) and a grant from Edible Trees Canada, which allowed volunteers to plant a variety of trees on the site.

But for the housing component of the project to move forward, the city would have to amend the official community plan (OCP) to designate a portion of the subject property as a temporary residential use permit area.

That would allow the organization to develop up to 40 sleeping cabins; a communal laundry, kitchen and bathroom structure; and a caretaker/administrative building. The proposal also includes an area for up to five tent sites to be used as short-term emergency shelters.

The public is invited to the meeting to comment on the proposed OCP amendment,  and members of the society will be there to answer questions about the proposed development. The amendment is needed because currently, the OCP does not allow the issuing of temporary residential use permits.

The amendment would still require approval from council, and staff aims to bring the application forward at the Oct. 6 or Oct. 20 council meeting. If the OCP amendment receives first and second readings from council, it will go to a public hearing, where residents will have an additional opportunity to provide feedback.

The meeting will be held Thursday, Aug. 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Abbotsford Virtual Campus (33952 Pine St.).