Having been active in business and paying taxes in this community since 1970, I choose to add my voice to the recent dialogue regarding social issues.
I would encourage either the Abbotsford News or the City of Abbotsford to publish the names and addresses of all rehabilitation and supportive facilities and group homes.
I believe this would answer those who claim the community’s prevailing attitude is “not in my backyard” and would prove to look more like YIMBY. We rarely hear of any problems about these facilities or from their neighbours, as they are well managed and work to respect and get along with their neighbours. Problem-solving happens where the problem exists, not by chasing it to another location.
Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver is an excellent example of success, both in Vancouver and elsewhere.
The proposed facility by Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) would not be housing individuals who persist in feeding their addiction and wanting to be on the street. It is most unfortunate that the mayor and city council did not see that approving the ACS project would have been a good start towards solving a seemingly enduring problem.
I have no doubt that if ACS were not already located where they are, and wanted to locate, and provided information on their full range of services to the community that the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association would find reasons to object.
The creation of the C7 commercial zone was to prohibit certain types of businesses deemed to be problematic from operating in that zone, but not restricting them elsewhere in the community. There has been some redevelopment in the C7 zoned area, but no more so than other parts of the business area of the city.
So what has changed since the enactment of the C7 zone? Not much. We are still discussing the same issues of homelessness, but now we have the more visible congregating of homeless in tent camps.
Could we possibly learn from other communities and rehab providers which have faced and dealt with similar challenges?