The Abbostford Downtown Business Association (ADBA) has made a public appeal on their website to the Citizens of Abbotsford regarding the proposal to build a Supportive Housing Project for 20-homeless men.
Editors note: We have reproduced it exactly as it appears on their site. All errors – spelling, grammatical and in logic are theirs.
Citizens of Abbotsford, BC: Oppose Rezoning and Low Barrier Transition Home Abbotsford
July 12, 2013
1. Rezoning P.I.D.’s 004-280-636 & 006-561-721 and 2408 Montvue Avenue
2. The constructions of a 20 man Transition facility in the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association area.
The majority of the Abbotsford Downtown property and Business owners do not believe Historic Downtown Abbotsford would be a good place for a home like this; no this is not a NIMBY situation; far from it.
1. If the effort of this home is to support a transition back to self-sufficiency, close proximity to a high concentration of bars should be a hugely important consideration. For those who know anyone who has ever put the junk food back in the cupboard so they stop eating it, we know self-control and proximity are linked. This location would clearly be counter-productive.
—-Liquor and those drinking liquor are in their highest concentration downtown—– For their sake, build it, but build it elsewhere, for their sake.
2. If the effort of this home is to support a transition back to self-sufficiency, close proximity to a grocery store should be immensely important. Consider a location where choosing to buy groceries instead of beer/drugs would be natural and easy.
—-There isn’t a grocery store downtown—– Build the transition home.
House the homeless. But not close to beer and far from food, please.
Locating this home in Downtown Abbotsford would be a terrible choice for those who value having a downtown worth visiting and who respect that this decision could destroy our small neighborhood.
1. The downtown is a unique area to Abbotsford. You could, without much effort, argue it is the most unique area of Abbotsford. It is a place that has fostered creative businesses unlike those seen anywhere else in town
—-A unique and valuable area to visitors and residents—–
Historic Downtown Abbotsford has gone from having a 65% vacancy rate 10-12 years ago, to one the lowest vacancy rates in all of the Lower Mainland at approximately 2.5%.
We have recently been named one of the 12 most beautiful downtowns in the Lower Mainland.
We are at a perfectly delicate state of finally breaking our well known “reputation” as the area most used to avoid.
2. Abbotsford downtown’s status as a nice place to be, to shop, to stroll, is hugely more fragile than other, busier locations in Abbotsford.
The area has a recent past in which it felt dirtier and was unvisited by most. This is changing and it is exciting to see where it could lead.
Business owners/landlords took an optimistic risk on the area, and although it is now more visitable than it has been for decades, it still hangs in a fragile balance. We are smaller businesses with a great dependence on the area’s feeling. The feeling we created. Considering its size, our ENTIRE downtown would be jeopardized by just a few more addicts and dealers hanging around. The balance could be so easily tipped. Why disadvantage this area, of all areas to choose.
—-An area with the most fragile balance in Abbotsford—– Build it, but build it elsewhere, please.
Just for comparison,
The central area of Abbotsford, with well-established malls, chain stores, must have 20 times people parking and shopping than the Historic Downtown, inserting a low-barrier home in close proximity to the mall would affect the atmosphere and future success there 20 times less than downtown. The economic impact on such an area would be almost none.
The fear is real for us, and it must be considered as such for those making this decision.
Very threatening, indeed. Many of the small businesses that make up Historic Downtown Abbotsford are at a fragile economic state at any given moment; the impact of this Low Barrier Facility could indeed be what causes them to close their doors.
3. We feel it is important that the community is aware of the entire truth of this Low Barrier Facility. Ask the difficult questions. Make your decision based on the entire truth.
• Are you aware of the cost to build this facility is 4-5 times the cost/sqft of a home on Eagle Mountain and 4 times the cost/sqft of Matthew’s House?
• Are you aware that the men who will be housed here will not be drawn only from Abbotsford?
• Are you aware that the men who live here will not have to be clean and sober from drugs and alcohol? Nor do they have to have a desire to be within the two years they live there?
• Are you aware there is only one chaperone onsite after 9 pm to watch over 20 men on a 3 storey facility?
• Are you aware there is no curfew?
• Are you aware there is no grocery store in the area but several late night liquor stores?
• 350m from an Elementary School.
It appears that the location of this facility was chosen out of haste and Abbotsford Community Services convenience. The residence in the area nor the businesses in the area were considered.
It is as important for the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association and its membership to remind the public that we are community oriented. We have always been active in our sponsorship and sponsorship of those in need in our community and will continue to be.