Gurdev Hair was shot to death last week in Abbotsford.   http://www.abbynews.com/news/390603931.html

“According to the provincial court database, Hair has an extensive criminal record, dating back to 1997, with multiple convictions that include theft, breaching his bail and probation conditions, possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of stolen property, trafficking in a controlled substance, driving while prohibited, escaping from lawful custody, break and enter, unauthorized possession of a firearm, fleeing from a police officer and robbery.

Hair’s most recent offence – possession of stolen property – occurred last Friday (Aug. 12) and he was scheduled to next appear in Abbotsford provincial court on Sept. 22.

A 1997 court document indicates that Hair was convicted in relation to a February 1995 drive-by shooting, in which he had been hired to shoot a Mission couple who had allegedly told civic authorities about an unlawful suite in their neighbourhood.

The couple and their five-year-old grandson were sleeping when Hair fired several shots into the home, according to the documents. No bullets struck anyone, but they embedded in walls, a stairway, the front door and other areas of the house.”

In his long list of crimes, there is this account of someone hiring Hair to so some serious threatening, if not deadly harm to people who took to heart the mantra that “By-law enforcement is complaint driven.”  This Mission couple dared to report and almost lost their lives in the effort.

Some years ago I got an unmistakable warning from people who were not pleased with my determination to have a level playing field in Abbotsford. I told City Hall to either enforce their own by-laws or just let all landowners know that they could rent out their sheds and shacks and trailers, and dice and slice their houses into separate suites and jump in to the rich rental business that their neighbours were clearly doing.  Under the table cash for illegal suites is a very lucrative business, and one that has gone largely unchecked.

Illegal suites is also a major impediment to honest people providing affordable housing in BC.  It’s pretty hard to compete with players who bypass all the cost incurred by honest builders and landlords.  Landlords of illegal suites contribute nothing to the infrastructure of a community on behalf of the hidden renters.

Back in the time of Grant Acheson, (Director of Development Services) at City Hall, I’d become astounded at the obvious bias shown in when and where, our City did, or did not enforce their by-laws. Finally, after months of useless interaction I phoned Grant and told him I was so angry, I would be running for Council in the next election.  Until that day, such a thought had never crossed my mind.

In one case where an owner had at the very least ten illegal rentals on his property and burned mountains of garbage at least once a week, because the trucks only pick up a few bags of household garbage, I went toe to toe with the man. The acrid smoke from his burning piles was making my asthmatic neighbour gasp for air, to the point she was becoming really sick,….. so the guy knew who I was.  I’ve never made anonymous complaints.

The next morning Grant phoned to tell me they had found six suites in the new house, and that they would be in touch with me within two weeks. I heard little from the by-law officer, other than he’d not been able to find anyone home, so could not follow through, and in any case the appliances from the suites had been moved out to the barn, so really case closed.  He’d chosen not to see the multiplicity of renters spread out in ‘seasonal workers shed’, trailers, garages, add-on structures, etc.

The warning  (which I will regale you with if you’re ever interested) sent my way was unambiguous, but nothing further happened beyond it, probably because these folk knew they had City Hall in the palm of their hand.  After all,…. making easy money on illegal suites is such a fast way to get rich, here in Abbotsford and Surrey, why rock the boat by doing something nasty,… to a nobody like me.  Why draw more serious attention to yourself and possibly mess with such a profitable operation?

I am certainly not significant enough to actually get the authorities to do their jobs, so why worry about my ineffective protestations about justice and truth and by-law enforcement,……..silly concepts like that.  The folk who break all laws with impunity know I represent no threat to their swelling bank accounts.

Once I got past the initial inertia that freezes most of us when we see corruption, City Hall soon enough showed me that though they say “By-law enforcement is complaint driven,”  you may as well save yourself the bother of trying to get the authorities to enforce the rules that are their own creation. Because at the end of long, arduous interaction staff will patiently explain to you that this is all an exercise in futility.

Mayors and Councillors and staff have over these decades explained to me that even if they do pursue a scofflaw, if they warn him, if they start delivering fines,….the scofflaw may hire a lawyer, and then the city has to pay a lawyer.  And then time passes while multiple illegal rental income will continue to flow into the pockets of scofflaws.

If the case eventually winds it’s way up to court, staff have told me that chances are pretty good the judge will laugh them out of court.  All that time and effort and expense,…..for nothing.

So we end up with this:  Laws are written for law-abiding people.

Now the BC Government wants to remove all Land Use Contracts by 2024, and suddenly our Abbotsford Council wants to start approving large houses in my community, and I can see the future.  Much of this affordable housing has been snapped up by the folk who will likely turn our lovely community into an enclave of large houses and multiple illegal suites, like Townline Hill.

Mayor Henry Braun invited me to his office recently, because I wrote somewhat strongly about the local police refusing to pursue the case of a man caught on a security camera, stealing from and destroying a long-haul truck. The mayor told me local police can’t respond to all the calls about crime in our city, because so much of their resources in used up fighting the crime in the Townline Hill area, an enclave of dominantly South Asian landowners (and many hidden suites.)

After decades of seeing my local government avoid enforcing their own laws on South Asians who choose to build large houses and divide them into plural rental suites, I adamantly oppose removing our LUC,  to allow large houses and legal suites, in place of our loved and cared for mobile homes and gardens.   Aside from the taxes that are almost certain to increase significantly, it is the uncontrolled illegal suites that make me determined to fight this move by City Hall.

“Oh but Gerda, if you know a house has suites beyond the one that is allowed, all you have to do is phone us.  By-laws are complaint driven, don’t you know?”

Of course it must be that way.  We cannot expect that the Mayor or the Councillors or the almost 1,000 paid staff ever to drive through Abbotsford, the city they govern.  We can’t expect them to ever open their eyes to see what the little people see.  Why would they allow their tender ears to hear about the real city they preside over?  Obviously it is up to the working blokes to patiently pay for all things city hall,…the buildings, the wages, pensions,… But then the tax-paying public is asked to strain from the sidelines to ensure by-laws are enforced.

In an enclave where most of the people make money on illegal suites there will be few who want to report lucrative by-law infractions.

For others who might care that all of us in a shared society play by the same rules, there is an occasional warning for those who dare to point out where that’s not happening.

The Mission couple got a warning, not to report on illegal suites. In a case of grim justice, the enforcer died at the hands of his own crowd.

 

Feel free to share this link with everyone so they can join the group.

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/563792723793352/

 

If that doesn’t work, they can search for the group called: 2090 0akridge Cres – Discussion Board

 

 

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/father-raymond-j-de-souza-on-conrad-black-and-anti-abortion-protesters-lady-justice-sometimes-makes-mistakes

 

https://gerdapeacheysviews.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/housing-dangerous-sex-offenders-in-any-place-other-than-a-secure-institution-is-foolish-dangerous-and-way-too-costly/

“Is the justice system infallible? Is every law just, every police investigation done fairly; does every trial arrive at the truth, is every sentence reasonable? Of course not. Yet there is a widespread conceit that every outcome of the criminal proceeding is owed deference as if it were adjudicated by King Solomon himself.”  – Raymond J. de Souza

From: Gerda Peachey <gerdapeachey@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 10:13 PM
To: Darryl <Darryl.Plecas.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, “deJong.MLA, Mike” <Mike.deJong.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, simon.gibson.mla@leg.bc.ca

BC Corrections:
PO Box 9278, Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, B.C. V8W 9J7

To Whom it may concern at BC Corrections:

http://www.abbynews.com/news/390733011.html

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/local+news/farnworth+calls+investigating+clbc+contract+after/12143997/story.html

Housing dangerous sex-offenders in any place other than a secure institution is foolish and dangerous and way too costly.

There is no sane reason on earth why James Conway, a man said to have the intelligence of a seven year old, but who is a real and present danger to helpless little children,….. should be housed in any residential neighbourhood.

This man may have been badly harmed himself in his youth, but now engages in deviant activity that makes him require 24/7 keepers to ensure he’s not out setting fires, or sexually molesting little children.

BC Corrections, BC Government, Elected MLA’s ……. it is crystal clear to the people who pay for all your lofty, exalted positions that this man should be kept in an institution, where he cannot be a danger to a vulnerable community, nor to himself.

But instead you pay companies like WJ Stelmaschuk and Associates, to rent private homes for Conway and his keepers to live, along with paid ‘guards’.  This is all a very, very expensive and lucrative business, on the backs of the taxpayers, who are endangered by your odd way of dealing with dangerous sexual predators.

This has become American-style private prison, obviously for the profit of the ‘keepers‘.

The working folk, who pay your wages can barely find, or afford the rent on homes, let alone buy extra homes, like the staff at WJS can,… to conveniently house their ‘clients.’

Who runs BC?  You, our elected MLA’s seem to mostly evade responsibility while WJS blatantly defies municipal by-laws and sets up illegal housing for clients like Conway.

So interesting that people in the ‘MISERY INDUSTRY’, seem to do so well financially, (like Marc Townsend and the Portland Hotel Society in the DTES) while caring for the needy and broken.

We look, too often in vain to you, our leaders for wisdom and courage to do what is good for the Province, over which you are to be stewards.

Please stop the excessive flow of public money into such dubious business affairs that leech off the people who need genuine help, like James Conway.

Mission Mayor Randy Hawes is about the only elected politician who seems to be able to speak the English language when it comes to the highly questionable business of the keepers making easy money off men like Conway.

Gerda Peachey

From: Gerda Peachey <gerdapeachey@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 3:13 AM
Subject: Land Use Contracts
To: premier <premier@gov.bc.ca>, “deJong.MLA, Mike” <Mike.deJong.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, Darryl <Darryl.Plecas.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, simon.gibson.mla@leg.bc.ca, Rich Coleman <rich.coleman.mla@leg.bc.ca>

Dear Premier Clark, and MLAs De Jong, Plecas, Gibson and Coleman:

A week from today I’m going to the Abbotsford City Council meeting to challenge the way our city conducts Public Hearings.

City staff say they are following Provincial guidelines, so before I speak to them next Monday about their seriously flawed process, I want to point out to you this problem, and to ask you to amend the guidelines you currently have in place for municipal governments.

Apparently there are many Land Use Contracts in BC, and the goal you have is to provide more manageable, more uniform zoning to replace what is currently somewhat of a hodge-podge of LUC’s that all have unique special features.

So you decided that by 2024 all LUC’s had to be replaced by suitable zoning under municipal oversight.

Fine.  That kind of makes sense, and 2024 is eight years down the road, which gives everyone time to learn what will change about their land, and to make plans for the future.

These land use changes are of great interest to elected politicians.  Beyond the duty to serve their public, and to make wise and careful decisions for the good of the citizenry, some of the people highly placed in your government are among the landlords who scoop up affordable housing, and add multiple properties to their personal holdings.

To his credit, Finance Minister, Mike de Jong listed his assets, not hiding behind numbered companies, so it is part of the public record that he owned property in my community, that is the focus of this letter.

Other folk in the government also listed multiple properties as part of their financial holdings.

According to the media, a few years back, Ujjal Dosanjh owned rental property deemed to be slum housing. That happens regularly with rental homes.  Even the poor take pride in their humble dwellings, if they own the place, but landlords can have a very different focus.

Affordable homes bought by speculators are often allowed to degrade to slum status.  Landlords don’t particularly care if a nice house becomes a grow-op, prostitution place or flop-housing for welfare addicts, just as long as the rent money keeps flowing in. The landlord doesn’t live there and is waiting for an opportune time to get local government to rezone, so landlords rarely lose.  But the blight of slum-housing spreads so that people give up and sell.  All good for speculators waiting in the wings.

Our re-zoning proposal looks different, but can create a similar domino effect.  These lovely humble properties will likely be gobbled up and replaced by large houses that max out the footprint. And legal suites, along with lots of illegal ones to help pay off the large houses.  That is what we see happening all through our city.

I make these points because the matter of how the municipality goes about implementing your mandate to remove all LUCs by 2024 has come quite swiftly and in a very shoddy manner to my community, not in 2024, or 2022 but now, in 2016,……eight years before your date.

We have been covered by this LUC since the inception of our unique place of some 150 properties, all mobile homes, on their own land, since about 1972.

People living on Oakridge Crescent, Monarch Court, Crystal Court and Lombard Street bought here knowing that restriction.  There is no expiry date on our LUC’s.

This has been a haven, enabling people to buy a home, average working couples who had to borrow and live comparatively frugal lives in order to make ends meet.  Most people I’ve talked to these last few weeks are deeply concerned how this sudden by-law amendment will affect their ability to stay on here if the taxes rise to match future monster housing assessments.

Last March someone bought a property, on my street, and set about getting the LUC lifted, so she could pull out the mobile, put in a large house and suite,…..thus setting a precedent for the rest of our community.

City Hall had first and second reading of K. K. Gill’s application on July 11th and set July 25th as a Public Hearing.  A few of us got a card from City Hall and,…… but for one alert man,…. this applicant would probably be on her way to radically altering our entire community by now, with all the other speculators soon building their large houses, where once stood mobile homes.

What’s the problem?

Besides losing lovely affordable housing, to treeless properties with monster houses, BC Assessment would asses all these properties to match the assessed value of the large new houses. Taxes on all these currently affordable houses would rise. The families who barely make ends meet,……..won’t be able to any longer.

And they will sell to folk who buy up properties, not for a home, but to build more large houses, filled with renters.

Well so what? That’s business, and there’s nothing illegal about buying properties and making money on them.

There are serious flaws in how this is happening here.  You (the provincial government) set a time, in the future, but suddenly that future evaporated in the heat of July, 2016.  In the middle of summer vacation, a land-use speculator tries to alter 44 years of a protective LUC in 14 days, while many people are gone from home.

Council met on Monday, July 11th, sent out some cards on a Tuesday.  Some of those cards might have arrived on a Wednesday.  Mine arrived on the Thursday, and some of the recipients got their card late the following week.

Now Abbotsford council says that is all okay because they are following Provincial guidelines.  So as long as they drop some cards in the mailbox at City Hall TEN DAYS before a Public Hearing, that’s fine, according to you.

That’s TEN DAYS.  I checked at City Hall today.  It is not even TEN BUSINESS DAYS,…..just ten days.  Subtract the days needed for the mail to be in transit.  I sent some letters to friends last week, just to see how many days it takes from the desk at the main post-office to destination.  Some arrived in one day, another in two, and one has still not reached it’s destination.

So you at our BC Provincial Government think that we the working public should be content with being informed about a meeting that might have tremendous import, about our homes, which for most of us is the biggest expense we have. We should be satisfied with a notice that might give us as little as 10-9-8-7-6-5…….maybe even 0 days to know about a Public Hearing that might have profound impact on our lives.

You, government employees and elected officials likely get at least three weeks vacation.  Would you be okay with coming home and finding that the zoning on your neighbourhood got changed, while you were on holiday?  Would you be okay with coming home to a radically altered zoning for your home and neighbourhood?

Did you, like us, buy in good faith, liking what you knew about the place,….trusting your local government zoning would not change without your knowledge and input?

I have done a number of Freedom of Information requests over the past few decades

Are you aware that the city has THIRTY BUSINESS DAYS to provide an answer to an FOI? Thirty business days translates into FORTY days to provide (an often blacked-out, redacted) response. And, the city can, and does, extend that time period for various reasons.

In fact I have an FOI waiting for you, the Provincial Government, to answer an FOI for over half a year now.

I asked for a copy of your contract with the Merck pharmaceutical company that is injecting Gardasil into little public school children.  That has been happening for some time and is costing the public millions.  Dubious claims about protecting little children from future sexually-transmitted diseases.  Unknown what harm these chemicals might do to kids who are NOT sick now, but are merrily being given 3 injections of Gardasil. All chemicals can cause other reactions, not necessarily immediately.  Will Gardasil be a factor in the phenomenal rise of auto-immune diseases? So I want to know how much we the public are paying Merck, and what guarantees are in place.

I’ve asked crystal clear questions but months go by and still the government of BC  provides no answers.   MONTHS, to not answer questions about where and why public money is being spent. But you think that we, regular working folk,  do not merit the same leisurely time that you grant yourselves.

Ordinary people can be happy they’ve been given a few days warning before the rug beneath their home is yanked away.  For most of us, our homes are the largest investment of our lives.

Abbotsford council may be technically correct to say they are simply following your guidelines, but your guidances are deeply flawed.

Being high up in government apparently allows you to be among the speculators who can afford to scoop up affordable housing, but it is also you who make the rules that seriously disadvantage the populace you promised to serve.

It is completely meaningless for city council to have first, second, and even sometimes third reading, all done in one breath.  Why bother pretending there is a real second reading.  There isn’t even one minute between those words, let alone weeks during which the public has a chance to digest a re-zoning proposal.

Developers are engaged with staff for months.  The public may have no knowledge of a proponents plans that can have a direct impact on the value of their land, or the quality of their life.  An application that seeks to alter existing by-laws must be done in the context of time,  enough time to inform and consult with a community.  Don’t betray the people who need you, the government to protect their property rights.

When an application goes before council let there be a real first reading, followed by an actual second reading at the following council meeting, so that the affected public has time to inform themselves and engage themselves in important issues.

Mandate a longer period for a re-zoning sign to be posted, like at least one month.  Expand the size of the zone to be notified.

That would slow development applications down by some weeks, but who should be your primary concern, ordinary working, tax-paying citizens or wealthy speculators?  Trusting citizens should not be kept in the dark until it’s too late for meaningful action on their part.

So much talk about affordable housing and so much bad policy. Legislative decisions that ensure the loss of affordable housing while more wealth accumulates to people who clearly have enough.

A couple in my neighbourhood came back from a short vacation, on July 26th. The omission of a re-zoning sign caused staff to pull this item off the agenda the morning of the hearing, otherwise council likely would have approved the re-zoning application. These people were shocked such a thing could be done in the few days they’d been gone from home.

Ten days, or less, to inform affected property owners about a potential by-law amendment is not enough time.  It is an injustice that you, who created this mess would not tolerate for yourselves.   You show contempt and disrespect for the land-owners in BC when you say they must wait 30 business days to get information about where their tax dollars are being spent, while expecting them to be satisfied with a 10 day heads-up about potential changes to their zoning.

I ask that you make swift changes and inform all municipalities that Public Hearings can’t be held without advance information and adequate time given to affected parties. Ten days and postcards mailed to properties within a 100 meter radius is woefully inadequate.

Gerda Peachey,

Abbotsford

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8AkjWQ3P-M>

A really nice example of God at work on the canvas of our lives.  We can’t always make out what is shaping up around us, or how events are transforming us, but there is nothing we can’t take to our Creator God in prayer, trusting in His infinite love and wisdom.

God is somehow making a beautiful work of art out of our lives. But we will always have trouble understanding it . . . until it’s fully done.

This evening I had a really nice conversation with a young couple who favour the removal of our community Land Use Contracts.  The young man wants to build a larger home and raise his family here.

 

Over this past few weeks there have been others who also share the view that removing LUCs will be a positive by-law amendment.

 

Thankfully we live in a democracy where we are free to have differing views, and still be friends.

 

Wednesday morning six of us from the neighbourhood met with Darren Braun and Nick Crosman and Tanya.  They gave us a generous two hours and people were able to ask questions, and get answers.

 

The group had a variety of thoughts as to what they want to see happen here, once LUCs are no longer covering us.

 

My view is that the City does not need to rush at us, as they are doing now.   It is August, 2016, what is the sudden urgency driving Council?

 

In May of 2014 the Province of BC,  decreed that, with Bill 17, they will sunset all Land Use Contracts by 2024.  

 

Right now any LUC trumps city by-laws.  The goal at Abbotsford city hall is to finish the LUC initiatives by 2022.  Okay, that is reasonable.

 

Staff explained they comply with the Local Government Act – Section 94, in how they go about making by-law revisions.

 

It is here that I strenuously object to the process by which developers are given plenty of time to advance their proposals,……but the surrounding property owners are given virtually no consideration, no heads-up, no consultation.

 

I checked this out again with Nick today (Friday), and he gave me some pages from their guide-lines. The rules, as they stand today, stipulate that Council can do a 1st and 2nd Reading of a proposed by-law change, in one meeting,  and that in essence authorizes a Public Hearing on the proposal, which can be set then for the following regular meeting of Council, (so two weeks away).

 

Then a notice must be sent at least 10 days before the Hearing, to properties within the surrounding 100 meters.  And 3 consecutive notices in the local paper, again 10 days in advance of the Hearing.

 

Okay.  So the developer has been at work behind the scenes for months, with city staff.  But the locals in the area that will be directly affected, might have no inkling about any of these plans.

 

Council agenda gets posted the Friday afternoon, before a Monday meeting.  So if you happen to have nothing better to do than keep your eyes on council activity, and if the agenda is up on the City website, and if the item stands out as something that directly affects your life,….well then you might be able to get out to the Monday night Council meeting.

 

So then you will be one of the rare citizens who hears Council do their 1st and 2nd Reading on a matter of great importance to you, and possibly also to your neighbours. With staff recommendation the proposal moves to a Public Hearing set for next Council meeting two weeks hence.   You will be one of the favoured few who can then scramble to figure out how to get more information. Is this good or a bad proposal? Should you get the news to others in the area?

 

Of course some will be notified.  Staff will begin to mail cards out, and the newspaper will also announce the Public Hearing.

 

So 10 days, minus time for the mail to arrive.  People within 100 metres, get a card sent to them. Likely 7 days left, before a Public Hearing, about a by-law revision the recipient had news of for the first time.

 

For most of us, our home is our single most important financial investment.   We deliberate, investigate and generally sacrifice to buy a home.  We know about the zoning of the area, check out schools, parks and amenities.  We hope for nice neighbours.  Our homes are a refuge for us and our families.  

 

But the government says, in effect, ‘Hey let’s facilitate developers.  What’s the problem? We’re giving home-owners seven whole days to act,…..in the event they don’t like this proposed change.

 

Oh,…some people went off on summer vacation?  Sad.  Oh well, they’ll eventually adjust to the new reality.  Given enough time everyone will grow to love the new scrap-food digester next door.’

 

Sure, that’s silly.  In our situation we are only looking at mobile homes being replaced by larger houses with secondary suites. But there will be real changes in the neighbourhood as speculator landlords move in to make money on the affordable housing they’ve been snapping up.

 

Those changes will be positive for some owners and not for others. But sliding through significant changes, essentially behind the backs of people who care a lot about what happens in their community, is not right, or good, or fair, or decent.

 

Canada is a democracy.  All government employees, whether elected officials or hired staff, are ‘public servants’.  Servants serve.  They take their instructions from the master.  They do everything for the betterment of their employers.

 

Who would not fire their servant at once if upon coming home from a vacation -found to their horror that the foolish employee had given away the family dog while they were gone. The dog barked too much and dug up the garden.  Oh, and to help master’s finances, the helpful servant thought they’d sell off the silverware.

 

Such a foolish servant would be fired, yes?  How is it that we have come to the place where our public servants can pull the rug out from under our lives, with a maximum 10 day notice, and consider that to be acceptable and normal?

 

So, whether it seems good or bad to remove our 44-year old LUC, this is being done years before the Provincial mandate is up.  It’s wrong, and lacks respect for the people who pay for government services for Mayor and Council  to try make momentous changes,….. without first providing the public with information and reasonable time to process data that impacts their lives.

 

Going away for a few weeks shouldn’t be scary, because you wonder what momentous decisions your servant will make while your back is turned.

Some neighbours came home after July 25th. If our agenda item had not been pulled, due to a procedural error these people would have come home to a new reality.  

 

At our small meeting last Wednesday one of the folk asked whether the by-law could have been reversed, since staff was in error for allowing this item to move to a Public Hearing without first having a re-zoning sign posted on the subject property, for three weeks. The answer was, “No”.  But he added, we would then have the option of making a legal challenge, if Council voted had voted in favour of the proponent on July 25th.  And that’s the good news.

 

I’m doing a ten-minute delegation on August 29th to challenge the flawed process being used by City Hall to change important by-laws.  Because this originates from the Provincial government, I’m writing them this week, essentially saying the above.  The Province is not immune to input from the municipalities, and this is incredibly bad policy.

 

The honest, hard-working tax-payers of BC should be given first consideration, respected enough to have information provided, and time enough to process that information, before developers are granted licence to alter neighbourhoods.

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