By Dale Klippenstein. A public letter of thanks and appreciation to councillors Ross, Gill, Braun and Loewen. These four members of the Abbotsford City Council supported a motion to allow a low barrier housing facility in Historic Downtown Abbotsford. It is a matter of public record and they have been elected to do the very thing they did tonight but I want to commend the four of them for voting in favour of the motion but more than that, acknowledge the insight of their words. The awareness exhibited by these four councillors was remarkable. I listened to every speaker at a public hearing on the matter 2 weeks earlier. Stake holders and concerned citizens on both sides of the issue had many good points to make, but in my opinion, the most thoughtful and well informed words came from four of your elected city councillors at the February 17th council meeting when the motion was on the table.
The motion was defeated in an ironic hazes of good intentions, each and every councillor and our mayor are in favour of supporting the downtown business community and they all agree that housing is a priority for the homeless. The contentious matter is simply where and when. Do something now and take advantage of millions of provincial tax dollars to build the facility plus millions more to support it for the next 60 years, or throw that away and wait for something better in the future.
It is a sad day for our city and a sad day for our Historic Downtown and it’s a really sad day for the 20 men that would have moved into this facility and for the hundreds and hundreds more that would have moved in over the next 60 years. It’s millions of provincially funded construction dollars lost and 60 years worth of provincial support dollars rejected. It’s also a sad day because the reputation of Abbotsford is about to be dragged through the mud once again.
But there is something good to appreciate, we have four amazing city councillors to support in the next election and by the way, that’s coming up on the third Saturday in November this year. Patricia Ross, Henry Braun, Dave Loewen and Moe Gill, they impressed the heck out of me this evening.