Transitional homeless camp proposed for Valley Road

Site located off Abbotsford-Mission Highway next to transfer station

This property on Valley Road is the suggested location for a Dignity Village-type homeless camp.

This property on Valley Road is the suggested location for a Dignity Village-type homeless camp.

An empty lot on Valley Road off the Abbotsford-Mission Highway is the proposed site for a transitional housing campground in Abbotsford.

The Abbotsford Dignitarian Society, a group made up of 18 members, including seven from the homeless community, is moving forward with plans to build a project similar in concept to Portland’s Dignity Village.

The location is next to the transfer station, across the highway from Willband Creek Park.

The property belongs to a member of the society – and the group plans to enter into a lease.

Paul MacLeod, former president of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA) and a member of the society, said they have taken some of the homeless members to the site and “they are excited about it.”

Though the site is further from the centre of town, MacLeod said it is well serviced by a bus route. He said his group would supply the residents with bus passes so they could travel easily.

He said it is anticipated that “the Valley Road project” would be a pilot project starting out with about 10 small shelters, about 10 feet by 12 feet each, as well as space for tents if people prefer. He said there is an architect in the society who is working on a plan for the structures.

The ADBA approved a $10,000 contribution to the society at its annual general meeting in March.

The society is presenting its proposal to the city’s task force on homelessness in June, as they are asking for a temporary land use permit for the site, and for sewer and water supply. MacLeod said sewer and water runs right by the property and they will be asking the city to install access on the site.

If granted the permit, MacLeod said they hope to quickly move ahead with the project.

In the meantime, the society aims to look after the immediate needs of the homeless at the camps in town, including food, toilets and garbage removal.