I must have missed the memo that declares that as long as one prefaces one’s position with “this is not NIMBYism,” then any narrow-minded, fear-based, and self-serving statements that follow are exempt from being viewed as NIMBYism.
Given the fact that certain ADBA (Abbotsford Downtown Business Association) merchants opposed situating the now wildly successful farmers’ market downtown nearly a decade ago, it should come as no surprise that the ADBA “bloc” is opposed to the 21-unit apartment building for homeless men, and those facing the risk of homelessness. And the ADBA seems to be playing dirty, given the misinformation that has been circulated by the group.
I have heard directly from a person whose wife was approached in a downtown restaurant, and told that a “homeless shelter” was being erected right next to the restaurant. The target confidently added her signature to the ADBA petition, and now armed with the facts, is regretting placing her support with the merchants (the project is not next to a restaurant, nor is it a homeless shelter).
I wonder: Can the petition itself be deemed null and void due to the means by which the ADBA is securing the signatories’ votes?
Folks who signed the petition have told me that the residents will be trucked in from outside of Abbotsford, that there is no overnight supervision, that alcohol will be provided to those who want it, that low-barrier equals harm reduction (in its most feared form – needle exchanges), and on it goes.
Some arguments seem to be offered under the guise of human or fiscal caring; too close to liquor stores (when the homeless already live on the streets downtown and can therefore already access the liquor stores); too close to pubs (failing to recognize that patronizing these establishments is a working class entitlement); too far from grocery stores (when the downtown food bank will be a key food provider); the project excludes women (when the majority of homeless folks in Abbotsford are men, and a housing project for women and children already exists in Abbotsford); too expensive to build (when the building standards are set by BC Housing, the key funder).
NIMBYism by any other name is still NIMBYism.