By James Breckenridge. It was not a sign post …
… or a complicated system of divination …
… that leads me to predict the end is near for the homeless camp on Gladys Avenue across from the Salvation Army.
It was the appearance of the radar trailer unit that shows drivers their speed …
… on Gladys Avenue in front of the house adjacent to the Salvation Army on Saturday [September 7, 2013] that foreshadows the intention of the mayor and city council to remove the homeless and their camp from Gladys.
From the moment the media descended on Abbotsford in response to the City’s crazed decision to weaponize and deploy chicken feces against the homeless, the mantra of those who wanted the camp in anyone else’s neighbourhood has been concern for the safety of the homeless vis-à-vis traffic.
A concern manifested when the city turned gun shy [chicken?] about dealing with such a public, media exposed camp.
As if prior to the camp the homeless were not crossing from one side of Gladys to the other.
Indeed, one could argue that the presence of the camp and the public awareness of the camp’s existence makes crossing the road in that section of Gladys safer than it has ever been or will be after the camp is gone.
What would you care to wager that once the camp is gone the expressions of concern about the homeless getting struck by traffic will be gone as well?
The most dangerous aspect of crossing Gladys is that it is a road in Abbotsford: poor or no lighting, meandering and/or invisible lane markings, pavement that threatens to toss your vehicle off the road and vehicle swallowing puddles; which makes mayor and council the leading threat to the homeless from traffic.
Whether on Monday, or a day shortly thereafter, the health department should be appearing at the camp, with the camp being declared a health hazard and the city ‘forced’ to close it for health reasons.
Other than all the dithering, the use of the wringing of hands over the safety of the homeless in traffic, the involvement of health inspectors and not using chicken feces what has changed since Abbotsford’s Day of International Infamy?
Admittedly, we now know the worth of an apology from Mayor Banman and council, giving us the measure of mayor and council.
I am not saying or in any way advocating that the homeless camp on Gladys should be left there.
While the use of chicken feces is unacceptable …
… the camp on Gladys is not much more acceptable, on a number of levels and for numerous reasons, than the use of chicken feces was.
The issue with what will occur with the camp on Gladys lies in the question of: what has changed?
When asked at the time of Mayor Banman’s [as of this point in time] non-apology what form I wanted the apology to take, I stated the city needed a changes in behaviour, attitudes, knowledge and understanding to achieve positive outcomes rather than continuing untold more years of negative consequences and harm to the homeless.
The city can have and use all the nice protocols it wants; have ‘concern for the risk posed to the homeless by traffic’; the use of health inspectors and health concerns; use all the politically correct language and buzzwords it wants; the bottom line remains: were are the homeless suppose to go? The Twilight zone? Down the rabbit hole to Wonderland?
Stripped down to its reality the city is back, however gently and slowly at this point, engaged once more in the futility of pointlessly chasing the homeless around Abbotsford from camp to camp.
It is not just that mayor and council have no ideas or strategies to address homelessness, but that mayor and council are actively refusing strategies demonstrated effective in reducing homelessness.
Given the willful ignorance and callus disregard for the homeless in the mayor and council’s return to business as usual in its behaviours and actions towards the homeless and the atrocious behaviour of the mayor and council’s in evading the rezoning to permit Abbotsford Community Services to provide twenty units of first stage housing to the homeless …
… the use of chicken feces by city staff against the homeless is looking less and less offensive …
… while the behaviour of mayor and council is looking more and more offensive.