By Mike Archer. There is an air of the ‘deer in the headlights’ syndrome emanating from the City of Abbotsford this morning as both the City and its police department seem to have been caught completely off guard by last night’s erection of a walled City and the wholesale move of the Jubilee Park protesters to the parking lot beside Jubilee Park in the middle of the night.
While five unmarked APD cruisers visited the site as it was nearing completion, the shear size of the project and the number of volunteers involved in an operation that was clearly moving with military-like precision, Led to no action by the officers and, after a brief discussion with head of the Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors, Barry Shantz, the officers left the parking lot.
Abbotsford Today has been trying to find out why top City of Abbotsford officials are not prepared to speak publicly about the proposal, on which at least of two them are said to have given verbal indications of support, which would see the Drug War Survivors move to municipal land, erect their own housing shelters and operate at least one self-sustaining business.
Today has asked Deputy City Manager Jake Rudolph why the City seems intent on pursuing an injunction to disperse the protesters and bar them from occupying municipal park land when there is an offer on the table to resolve the issue.
Today has also asked what the City intends to do now that its injunction appears moot since the protesters have already moved.
Mayor Banman has not said anything publicly about his statements regarding a similar proposal by Jeff Gruban of theAbbotsford Atheists, Skeptics and Humanists and Ward Draper of The 5 and 2 Ministries to move some of the homeless to a private piece of property and set up a ‘Dignity Village’ style housing project for the homeless. Banman stated publicly that if Gruban and Draper were able to pull that proposal together he would ensure the property received bus service from the City.
There has been no news of any movement on either proposal and the City seems intent on continuing to have the APD and the courts solve its homeless crisis for it.
Copy of email sent to Deputy City Manager Jake Rudolph Dec 12, 2013
Attention: Jake Rudolph, George Murray
Massive Walled City Built Overnight
Good morning Jake, Just following up on my email of yesterday morning seeking answers and some follow up questions regarding the new developments overnight whereby the members of DWS have moved from Jubilee Park into a walled-structure in the adjacent parking lot.
1) What is the City’s position on the overnight developments?
2) What does the City intend to do about the injunction it is pursuing in court Monday?
3) Will the City publicly acknowledge or discuss the proposal which is on the table and known to senior management to move the occupants to designated municipal lands and resolve this crisis?
If we don’t hear back we will publish our questions and indicate that the City has not responded.
Thanks for your help in telling this story
Copy of email sent to Deputy City Manager Jake Rudolph Dec 11, 2013
Good morning Jake,
I’m just trying to make some sense of events as they emerge. Earlier this year we reported on the three proposals of which we were aware – Three Distinct And Irreconcilable Agendas – which the City of Abbotsford is considering to resolve its homeless issues.
We have had discussions with Chad Brechin, Barry Shantz, Jeff Gruban and Ward Draper regarding the two proposals their groups have made to the City.
We even have Siri Bertleson quoted as describing the proposal by Barry Shantz and Chad Brechin as “refreshing and possible.”
What we have not yet heard are any updates, news or discussion of any of the proposals on the table despite the fact that the Mayor and senior staff have clearly been quite involved in discussing some fairly radical and progressive solutions to the issues which the City faces.
In the interest of openness and transparency can you tell us, for publication:
1) How many proposals (including the Abbotsford Community Services Supportive Housing Proposal) is the City considering to help those who still live on the streets in Abbotsford?
2) Can you confirm the discussions with, a) Jeff Gruban and Ward Draper, and b) Chad Brechin and Barry Shantz, and can you share what, if any, commitments have been made or at least provide an update on the discussions.
3) Mayor Banman said, of the Gruban-Draper proposal, that if they could make it work he was prepared to extend bus service to their property. Would the City uphold the Mayor’s promise and would the City extend the offer to the Brechin-Shantz proposal.
4) With so many proposals on the table and with temperatures so low, why is the City pursuing its efforts to forcibly remove the DWS protesters from Jubilee Park, especially with only 14 days left ’til Christmas?
Thanks for your help in telling this story.
Today Media Group