The Mayor, the ADBA and several citizens opposed to the ACS/BC Housing supportive housing proposal have repeatedly claimed that ACS ‘sneaked’ the proposal through without letting the ADBA or anyone else know about the plan.
This is patently false. If politicians like Mayor Banman, councillors like John Smith and Bill MacGregor (all of whom voted against the proposal) were either, a) unaware of the proposal, or, b) failed to mention it to the committees they either chair or on which they sit, or the organizations with which they seem to hold almost daily or weekly consultation, then they are either incompetent or disingenuous beyond belief.
The City of Abbotsford not only knew about the project all along, they participated in the process of shaping the proposal, and trying to find land for it. Unlike every other city in BC where such projects have been built, the City of Abbotsford had no money or land to towards the proposal.
So the City put out a Request For Proposals asking for someone to provide them with land. They chose the ACS property as an ideal location.
To somehow try to turn that history into a nefarious plot by BC Housing to sneak a building into Abbotsford is absurd.
Even the more recent timeline of public consultations shows nine months of public consultation on the subject in which all of council and the ADBA participated.
Abbotsford Community Services Low Barrier Housing Public Timeline:
1. June 12, 2013 – first public announcement in the Abbotsford News regarding ACS Low barrier housing proposal for 2408 Montvue.
2. June 18, 2013 – ACS appears as a delegation to ask for funding from Abbotsford Affordable Housing technical Fund, established by Councillor John Smith. Smith (City representative on the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce for past five years, and Alvin Epp, past president of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce clearly approved of ACS intentions to locate a low barrier housing project at 2408 Montvue
Note: It is not BC Housing, who failed to consult with ADBA. This is not a BC Housing process. BC Housing followed the same process used for the Emerson and Clearbrook Road projects. Residents and any businesses in the Emerson or Clearbrook Rd area were consulted until it was made public to all Abbotsford residents via the media.
Naomi Brunemeyer of BC Housing has confirmed that the same procedure was followed with the City of Abbotsford as was followed in the Emerson and Clearbrook Road sites. The only difference – the city had no land available, so they put out a Request For Proposals (RFP) to the non-profit organizations for land which might be available for the project.
3. July 24, 2013
Public announcement in the Abbotsford News about first Public meeting, Wed., July 26 to discuss ACS Low Barrier Housing project proposal at 2408 Montvue
4. Oct 8, 2013
ACS announcement of public discussion about ACS proposed project at Cascade Church on Wed. Oct. 9, 2013
5. Feb 4, 2014
Council approval of Road variance for 2408 Montvue.
6. Jan 29, 2014
7. Feb 19, 2014
Council vote on rezoning 2408 Montvue for ACS low barrier housing project.
Multiple discussions within the City and City Council leading to RFPs and land swaps topped off with three public sessions over a period of nine months … If that’s how you sneak something past the mayor and the ADBA then a nuclear explosion on South Fraser Way wouldn’t be enough to disturb their slumber.
For Mayor Banman or the ADBA to claim they were not consulted is simply not factually accurate. If Mayor Banman is trying to say that such a massively controversial and serious issue was somehow negotiated; land donated; variances discussed and approved, funding allocated and an entire project planned out without anybody knowing, then we suffer from a level of incompetence at City Hall that rivals anything to which we have unfortunately grown accustomed.
Our community leaders have grown used to being able to switch gears in mid sentence and tell a totally different story in order to explain away their ineptitude, incompetence, intransigence or disingenuity since they all got used to a complacent local newspaper media which never questioned their gibberish.
Now that technology has allowed citizens to get their information somewhere other than old newspapers, our community leaders look more and more like fools as they say ludicrous things as though they just expect people to believe them.
One more thing.
Mayor Banman told CBC that “This issue has divided the community in half on both sides.” Beyond the fact that what he said is completely incomprehensible – does he mean it has divided us in quarters or eighths? – he is once again fudging the truth. The public hearings, especially the final public hearing on Feb 3, have shown a clear majority of attendees arguing in favour of the proposal. A look at the speakers list for the Feb 3 public hearing reveals twice as many people spoke in favour of the proposal as spoke against it.
Anyone who was there knows that at least two-thirds of those in the Matsqui Auditorium were wearing green scarves.
Banman can use whatever fuzzy logic he wants to convince himself that all those people weren’t there but he can’t change facts.
George Peary tried to convince us we need a $300,000,000 new water supply when he knew it wasn’t true.
Bruce Banman is trying to convince us that the ACS and BC Housing sneaked into town and almost built a building until he noticed it and put a halt to it.
Just like George Peary did, Bruce will learn how voters respond when you treat them like fools.