By Walter Neufeld. Mr. Bos: Your response to Andrew Holota’s opinion piece about our City’s ongoing homeless failures reads a bit like the confession of a retired stripper.
Thank you for exposing yourself so graphically. It points the reader to where the City might have picked up some of its nastiest strategies (Holota: “On the face of it, city loses if project fails”, Abbotsford News ). You also appear to blame the homeless (and disparage thousands of excellent folks trying to help them) for the downtown’s poor business performance when those failures are actually the result of downward market fluctuations, flawed business plans, high taxes (don’t make me explain plan “A”) and unfair property tax deferrals given to out-of-town-competitors who undermine your investments.
Undaunted by those real world factors, you posses the temerity to label Holota’s observations about about the ADBA and Chamber’s wayward attitude toward the homeless, and the City’s execution of the same, as “bullying”? You do know the difference between the a person who is a bully and a person who describes a bully, right?
You go on to claim the immaculate protection of C7 zoning. You are a developer and must surely understand that zoning is elastic. It has always been, and always will be elastic For all I know, you may have benefited from rezoned property. C7 has served its purpose by giving the downtown time to get on its feet. For the sake of the audience to whom you’ve appealed, I’ve enclosed a lengthy quote from an article written by Lilly Kaetler (2003).
It sheds some needed light on the players and the gaming as it relates to the issue of homelessness in Abbotsford: Abbotsford Today: “The Keystone Cops Who Brought You The Abbotsford Homeless Crisis” by Lilly Kaetler.
“In 2003, the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA) opposed a 9 bed recovery centre to be adjoined to the Salvation Army, at its previous location at Gladys St. North. Approximately 200 people, including ex- Mayor Reeves as a past member of the ADBA voted against the proposal. Shortly after, a committee was formed, which included majority of the ADBA Executive and other property owners in the ADBA area including a couple of realtors.
The group included Bob Bos, who was president of the ADBA and they voted to have council pass a by-law to allow recovery houses in any residential area in the city, without, a public hearing being required. Council voted it down, at the time, stating, it would be disingenuous to the citizens of Abbotsford. It was not long after that, when council, also, implemented C7 zoning, which, excluded recovery houses in the BIA. This special zoning was to help businesses/property owners/investors revitilize the old downtown.
Then, back in 2008, the city passed a by-law, which would regulate recovery houses and allow them in single family residential zoned neighborhoods. As of today, the recovery houses have been assimilated into our neighborhoods and Council just recently changed the By-law to allow a second housing unit on the same street. Clearly, zoning and bylaws implemented by the city are not concrete and are adapted according to growth and needs within the city….”
In your response to the editor, you go on to make the specious claim that, “…Mayor Reeves, police, fire dept., bylaws and the ADBA …” cleaned up the “problematic homeless” who were living in Fraser Valley Inn about 10 years ago. The fact of the matter is nothing was cleaned up at that time, the so-called “problems” were simply shuffled onto the streets, into the ditches and bushes for the next ten years. That was your/ADBA’s strategy.
It didn’t work. It solved nothing. ACS’ viable proposal is an attempt to clean up that same mess and yet you appear intent to derail it by parroting the same failed strategies that got us here in the first place. Finally, you claim the ACS and the City were working “behind the scenes” before coming to the ADBA with their housing plans. The inference is that ACS was conspiring to usurp the ADBA’s influence.
We are reminded that a condition of the funding, provided by BC Housing, dictated when ACS was allowed to make the project public. However, years prior to ACS’ current attempt provide solutions for helping the homeless, “…Bob Bos, who was president of the ADBA and they voted to have council pass a by-law to allow recovery houses in any residential area in the city, without, a public hearing being required.”
Now that sticks in my craw, does it stick in yours too? Mr. Bos, many good folks can’t abide your interpretation of integrity.”