LETTER: Council's decision could become election issue

Abbotsford council’s decision to turn down Abbotsford Community Service’s proposal for a low-barrier housing complex for homeless men promises to be a game-changer in this fall’s municipal election.

Council has amended the C7 zoning on previous occasions (e.g. multi-level condominium on Pauline Street and the Atangard Community Project Society on Essendene Avenue), and their failure to approve this project suggests a bias toward the less unfortunate in our community.

When Coun. John MacGregor claims that “the community” was against the proposal, he must have forgotten about the approximately 90 people who recently addressed council, most of whom spoke in favour of the proposal.

The argument that the downtown has thrived resulting from the C-7 zoning may be true, in part, but the homeless have been in that area throughout that period, and continue to choose that area as their home.

Perhaps the revitalization of the downtown has occurred despite their presence, rather than detracted from it. Someone once said, “The poor you will always have with you,” and this community should understand that better than most, and seek to ameliorate their condition as much, and whenever possible. To turn down this proposal is just another black mark against Abbotsford, which is repeatedly criticized for its approach to dealing with the less fortunate in too many areas. The community has spoken and will speak again. See you at the polls in November!

John Konrad, Abbotsford

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