Temporary cabins for homeless on Valley Road postponed

Group withdrew application for now, but plans to resubmit

An artist’s rendering of the Abby Digs project.

An artist’s rendering of the Abby Digs project.

A  transitional homeless village proposal on Valley Road has been put on hold by the organizers of the project – but they say it doesn’t mean the end of the plan.

Jeff Gruban, a member of the Abbotsford Dignitarian Society, said the group has for the time being removed its application for a city permit to build the “Abby Digs” project.

The group had pitched a concept that would allow for up to 40 sleeping cabins; a communal laundry, kitchen and bathroom structure; and a caretaker/administrative building on a piece of private land at 33725 Valley Rd.

There were two requests before the city for temporary-use permits on the property – one for the village and another for a temporary composting and recycling facility.

As one proposal is residential and the other industrial, a city report said the projects must be considered together to determine whether they are compatible.

But Gruban said the dual proposals added to the complexity of the approval process for both applications.

He said that as the village plan is more complex, they decided to withdraw their application.

Once there is a decision on the temporary recycling facility, then the group will resubmit their proposal for consideration.  “We are moving ahead, 100 per cent.”

He said even if something happens with the Valley Road location, they “are still committed to building the village and we will find another location if that’s something that we have to do.”

Gruban said they appreciate the city’s help so far, but they are disappointed they were not able to get the village up and running by winter.

It appears spring is now the earliest they could proceed.