You are certainly going to see a lot of people upset over City Council’s vote against the ACS proposal to allow some housing for the homeless in our city. I’ve been a little bit quiet on this issue, but I would like to make a couple of points. I think you’ll find that they are quite different from what you’ve read so far.
Let’s first talk “language”.
City Council did not vote against the re-zoning application. Mayor Banman voted against it. He had many options and the very best one, when dealing with a controversial issue, was to just keep his mouth shut and do nothing. While his lack of vote would have been recorded as assent, he would not have had to raise his hand at all.
Here’s where things get tough for me … and there is a confession in this next line.
I’m a little bit glad he did vote.
He just gave everyone who wants his job the issue upon which to campaign.
Bruce old son, you are the Mayor of a town with nearly 100 churches in it and you just told them to go to hell. Did you not see the representative from the ACLN speak in favour of this proposal? Let me clue you in on that acronym… it stands for the Abbotsford Christian Leaders Network. They represent 65 or so of the 94 churches in Abbotsford. Oh, don’t think the other 30 churches are on your side. As church going population goes, the ACLN might include 70%-80% of all church goers in this city (that is a conservative guess as it is probably closer to 90%).
Your time as Mayor has included:
- An attempt to give $17 million away to the YMCA in exchange for nothing
- The vicious spreading of manure on a homeless camp that made international news
- And now…the declining of 60 years of help for the homeless in our town
That’s your legacy. How do you feel about that? Abbotsford… how do you feel about your Mayor?
You’re making it pretty easy to run against you.
There is one final fact I would like all Abbotsford residents and our City Council to ponder.
This location is zoned for a mix of commercial on the bottom and residential housing on top. All the ACS wanted to do was not put commercial in so they could have a secure entrance and an onsite supervisor suite.
In other words, if their proposal had included a coffee shop on the ground floor you would not have been able to vote on anything. This whole sham would never have happened. The hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on City Staff, ACS Staff and Fraser Health would have been saved and the facility would have been built no matter what you thought.
I won’t be running against you for the Mayor’s seat Bruce. But there is an empty seat at the Council table and in November, I’m coming for it. With a bit of luck, there will be some more like me elected and your vote won’t matter ever again.
Vince Dimanno is co-owner of Today Media Group which includes Abbotsford Today