EDITORIAL: Exercise in frustration

Frustration. That word can likely be applied to every party involved in the homeless issue in Abbotsford.

Frustration.

That word can likely be applied to every party involved in the homeless issue in Abbotsford.

The homeless are frustrated they don’t have more secure options for shelter. Ditto for service providers who work with limited resources to assist street people with deep substance abuse and mental health issues.

Residents and business owners are frustrated with the appalling mess of the Gladys Avenue camp, and the recent expansion onto more city-owned land across the street.

And the city – police, mayor, council and department managers – are no doubt acutely frustrated having their collective hands tied by an irksome court case challenging the constitutionality of disallowing homeless from camping in public parks.

It is the outcome of that lawsuit – begun in March 2014 and now awaiting the judge’s decision – upon which virtually all of the frustration currently hinges.

Until a decision, the homeless will continue their protest camp, and civic officials will maintain a tolerant position toward it.

The irony of the matter is that the court ruling could decidedly worsen the matter if it strikes down the city bylaws. The potential is then a free-for-all for those who rightly or unjustifiably choose to camp wherever they please. It doesn’t mean better shelter or treatment services.

Even if the judge does uphold the city’s laws, he has already indicated it is not within the court’s jurisdiction to order the city to supply housing or other social services.

Most likely, the judge will find it appropriate for the city to provide the homeless with a piece of land to accommodate them in safer, less obtrusive fashion until planned housing becomes available.

Ultimately, when the legalities are out of the way, it will still be up to all the stakeholders to steer through this immensely complex issue. The considerable delay this court case has contributed to the situation is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of all.

Just Posted

SLIDESHOW: Symphony in the Park

Free concert at Mill Lake featured Abbotsford’s young orchestra talent

VIDEO: Abbotsford police arrest man suspected of using pepper-spray against another man

Police cruisers collide in pursuit of suspect fleeing on a stolen bicycle

Heffernan to be acclaimed as Abbotsford Liberal candidate

Author and Jati Sidhu assistant to face-off against Ed Fast

Man charged with robbery of Abbotsford bank has multiple convictions

Mitchell Mousseau, 48, turned himself in to police on Aug. 11

NBA talent coaching at BC Bounce camp in Abbotsford

Former Dallas Mavericks guard Kyle Collinsworth coming to town

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Young balance-bikers race in B.C.’s inaugural Strider Cup

The course has several obstacles including ‘Mount Scary’ and the ‘Noodle Monster’

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

Most Read