By Mike Archer. An email from James Arden, Acting Director, Park Services, for the City of Abbotsford, to City Manager George Murray revealed this week that the Abbotsford Salvation Army was “in agreement” with the City’s plan to dump chicken manure on property, occupied by homeless people, across the street from their building.In that email, obtained by Abbotsford Today, Arden says, “I followed up with my team and the Salvation Army staff were talked to by By-Law as to our plan with the fertilizer and were in agreement.”
The email, dated June 4 at 12:45 pm, is important because Salvation Army spokesperson Deb Lowell has maintained that the Sally Ann had no prior knowledge of the plan to dump chicken feces on the homeless.
Lowell has said that the Sally Ann phoned the City as soon as they were made aware of the incident.
Murray, in his response to Arden says, This is quite often what happens in our business. Groups are 100% behind us ….. right until it turns to shit (rather than manure)”The incident [Abbotsford Chicken Manure Homeless Incident] occurred June 4th across from the Salvation Army building on Gladys Avenue and was first reported in a column by James Breckenridge on Abbotsford Today June 5.
Within hours of the revelation, City Manager George Murray responded to Abbotsford Today‘s story with a blanket apology saying he took full responsibility for the incident.
The story gained international attention and, despite claims in the Abbotsford News that they were led to believe the incident was the responsibility of a handful of low-level authorities, two senior managers (Economic Development Manager Jay Teichroeb and Bylaw Enforcement Gordon Ferguson) have since left their jobs.
On June 16 Murray told Abbotsford Today there was a meeting with a number of parties, including the Salvation Army prior to the incident.
He further stated, “The Salvation Army was not involved in making the decision. The Salvation Army does not have the authority to approve City staff to undertake any work. The decision to spread the manure was made by City staff.”
On Monday emails obtained by CBC News revealed that a number of senior people in at least three departments new about the plan.
Jesse Wegenast and Ward Draper, both pastors with The 5 and 2 Ministries told the Abbostford Social Development Advisory Committee (ASDAC) at a meeting in June that the incident was part of a pattern of mistreatment of the homeless by the City of Abbotsford and the Abbotsford Police Department (APD). An investigation is underway into the APD’s involvement in this incident and into accusations that they regularly use pepper spray and destroy the tents and belongings of the homeless in Abbotsford.
Abbotsford Today has contacted the Salvation Army and will publish their response as soon as it is received.