On February 17, 2014 Abbotsford Mayor and Council voted down the rezoning of 2408 Montvue Ave. for a low barrier housing. Mayor Bruce Banman, Councillor John Smith, Les Barkman, Bill MacGregor voted against the rezoning proposal and the resulting vote prevented rezoning of 2408 Montvue Ave. for a 20 bed supportive housing project to be funded, by B.C. Housing.
Mayor Banman cited in The News1130 article, Feb 18, 2014, “it was all about the process followed by Community Services.
The very neighbor who that they wanted to place this in was never consulted until after the decision and the design and the drawings had been made. To make a decision without consulting your neighbors, the very people, who you’re going to be moving in with? That process needs to be improved.”
The Mayor reiterated this belief in the Tyee, Feb 19m 2014: “Nobody asked stakeholders in the downtown area what they thought of the proposal before it reached such an advanced stage,” he said. Banman said, “had we bothered to consult, talk and negotiate with one another, this angst could have been avoided. The need (for housing) is great, but I cannot support a system that doesn’t even bother to consult its neighbors.”
In a Radio address with CBC reporter, Stephen Quinn, on Feb 20, 2014, Mayor Banman further tried to justify his ‘no’ vote,by explaining, “many people do not understand, where the housing project would be..goes in to the heart, small part of the city, special C7 zoning. The ADBA said, “we will pay extra tax, a Downtown Business Improvement Tax, if we have more control of the types of businesses & services in the ore.”
**. The business Improvement Tax enabled property owners to borrow money from the city, via a tiered tax, which allowed the ADBA to use the money for improved programs, services in Historic Abbotsford. The C7 zoning allowed more control of the types of businesses and services in the core.
“The big problem is the ADBA was not brought into the decision making process until the decision was made. It left council with a decision, who do we turn our back on the businesses or the 20 bed housing project. At the end of the day, council decided the location zoning of this location not the one.”
Reporter, Stephen Quinn asked Mayor Banman, why the ADBA was not consulted and he said he did not know, “no to be honest, some parts, we don’t know, the city needs to take partial responsibility.”
The fact of the matter, the Abbotsford Community Services Supportive Housing project proposal at 2408 Montvue Ave. Comes under the umbrella of the September,2008 Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Abbotsford and B.C. Housing “ to commit to up to 100 units of new social and supportive housing in Abbotsford.”
The MOU indicates: The city will designate a staff member to ensure the municipal approval process is expedited. Community consultation will include public information meetings and formal Public Hearings thru the approvals process.”
The MOU lists voluntary public consultation can begin after the RFP has closed and a Public Hearing will occur after all rezoning and development permit applications have been submitted.
2008 MOU LINK:
BC Housing and City of Abbotsford followed this 2008 MOU schedule for the George Schmidt, low barrier supportive housing project at Kinghaven, at 32150 King Rd. and the Christine Lamb Residence, Second Stage Housing project at 3216 Clearbrook Rd.
B.C. Housing, City of Abbotsford and Abbotsford Community Services were part of B.C. Housing, 2008 MOU , and this schedule was,moreover, reported in The News on July 24, 2014
Not included in above schedule:
October 8, 2014 Abbotsford Community Services announced a public discussion on the ACS low barrier housing project for Oct. 9 @ Cascade Community Church 7 p.m.
February, 4, 2014 City Council approved the road variance rezoning application for 2408 Montvue Ave.
January 29, 2014 Public Hearing for rezoning of 2408 Montvue Ave.
February 19, 2014 Rezoning application for 2408 Montvue Ave. denied, by Mayor Banman,
Councillor John Smith, Bill MacGregor and Les Barkman.
Mayor Banman stated to NEWS 1130 on February 18, 2014, “ it was all about the process followed by Abbotsford Community Services. The very neighborhood, that they wanted to place it in was never consulted, until, after the decision, the design and the drawings had been made.”
The above information confirms that Abbotsford Community Services followed the guidelines outlined in the MOU, between B.C. Housing and the City of Abbotsford was fully aware of the project guidelines in relation to it’s involvement with Abbotsford Community Services and B.C. Housing.
Naomi Brunemeyer, Senior Manager at B.C. housing said, “the only difference with the two other Abbotsford projects is that Abbotsford Community Services provided the land. “We put it out to RFP, since the city did not have the land and Abbotsford Community Services was chosen, because, they came to the table with the land.”
Mayor Banman, also, echoed in an article by Rochelle Baker, The Tyee on Feb 19, 2014, “nobody asked the stakeholders in the downtown area what they thought of the proposal before it reached such an advanced stage.”
The fact of the matter, once again, the so-called stakeholder, the residents and businesses located in the area of other supportive housing proposed projects were not consulted directly, either. The public found out about the proposed B.C. Housing and City of Abbotsford partnerships, after approval, by Council to proceed to the rezoning stage, which requires a Public Hearing.
The rezoning application for 2408 Montvue Ave. proceeded with the same procedures used for all other rezoning applications, by the City of Abbotsford.
In addition, the guidelines as outlined in the 2008 Abbotsford Memorandum of Understanding between B.C. Housing and the City of Abbotsford are similar to procedures outlined in the MOU of various other cities’, involved in supportive housing initiatives with B.C. Housing.
Does the mayor really not know what process is involved in securing supportive housing and what rezoning procedures used by the City of Abbotsford’s Planning/Building Permit Dept.?
Does the Mayor feel the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association should be treated differently than the rest of thebusinesses and residents in this city and/or does he feel it is the process used, by BC Housing should be changed?
Perhaps, it is time to review the cities’ process or more like lack of action in finding a location suitable for supportiveHousing in the city,, a location, which maximizes benefits and minimizes risks of supportive housing residents andtheir neighbors.
You think it would have become a “priority” for Abbotsford City Hall, after they almost lost out on B.C. Housing funding for a previous project in 2009, due to a highly unsuitable location for low barrier housing.
Most important, I say, it is time for community consultation between Abbotsford citizens and non-profit organizations willing to become operators and provide land for supportive housing, before B.C. Housing presents another offer to the city for supportive housing, so they can discuss optimal locations for low barrier housing in the city.
Wasn’t ASDAC formed in 2006 to address the cities’ most pressing needs?
Mayor Bruce Banman is wrong to blame Abbotsford Community Services for his “no” vote on this highly contentious supportive Housing project proposal at 2408 Montvue Ave.
The Mayor owes the Abbotsford Community of Services an apology for his misleading statements about the process used by Abbotsford Community Services in their bid for supportive housing at their 2408 Montvue Ave. property in East Abbotsford.
Advocate for Safe Neighborhoods