To Andrew Holota, editor of the Abbotsford News.

I don’t know you personally, but I am sure getting to form an opinion of you, especially after the Friday column. Here you are, in your bully pulpit, in a position of power, as the News has the power of the press, pontificating about those “NYMBYs” in the ADBA not wanting this wonderful craphole in their downtown!

If I remember correctly, you are a Johnny-come-lately to Abbotsford News. For all I know, you don’t even live here. I know one thing you don’t have a business in the downtown, or own property there, so what the heck would you know about what we’ve had to put up with for years, before we began the work of revitalization, with the help of the C7 zone? You don’t know Jack, and that’s a fact, neither does your reporter Alex, who is always on the side of the “homeless”! Oh those poor homeless, who make their living stealing from those who live in the vicinity, accumulate more garbage in a week than a 20-house street, leave their needles all over, pee and poo on people’s front yards and are literally a major problem for all those who have to put up with them. And we are supposed to welcome a 20-unit low-barrier housing project in the downtown, that comes with a bunch of hangers-on, etc.? You’re joking, right?

You mention “why not there, they are there anyway.” Well let me explain why they are there, its call “free lunch” “supper barbeques”, church groups that would rather feed them away from their buildings, than in their buildings, that’s why they are there, no other reason! Move their lunch wagon to Grant Park in Clearbrook, the vacant property on McCallum, the corner of the bypass and Mission Hwy., on the nice grassy lot by the News, or wherever and they will be there, every day, ready for when the lunch shows up!

The reason we are having this problem on the scale it is in Abbotsford, is quite simple. We now have the largest congregation of “homeless” outside Downtown Eastside in Vancouver! The stats are there, check it out. Why? The local church community. The word is out: “come to Abby, you will be cared for.”

People have been told to go here, asked to come here from all over the Lower Mainland, B.C. and other provinces. One afternoon, a week after the camp began in Jubilee Park when, on my way to Abby Village mall I passed a couple walking from the direction of the bus depot, with him carrying a large pack on his back wrapped in an orange tarp, heading towards the downtown, I knew where they were going, and sure enough, when I got back to my office there they were, in the hotel parking lot, heading over to the park to begin setup.

Then there’s the local crap disturber, head of the “Drug War Survivors”, or something like that, creating as much problems as he can for everyone, inviting everyone and his dog to come to Abby. Hard to fight against that type of thing!

But that’s OK, you and your paper are on their side, the side that contributes nothing to your coffers, doesn’t buy a dime of advertising, but just makes life miserable for those that do contribute. Another reason for this problem in society – it’s called the “Charter of Rights,” given to us by the worst PM Canada has ever seen! That’s when this all began, we are now reaping the results!

Let me inform you of something, when this building happens, and the downtown is overrun by drug addicts, alkies, prostitutes, drug dealers, etc., like it was 10 years ago, and the police spend the majority of their time trying to clean up the mess, there won’t be many advertisers left in the downtown. But then it’ll be too late. It’ll be like the FVI before Mayor Reeves, police, fire dept., bylaws and the ADBA cleaned it up. It was a place for 20 men also, low-barrier, we know what that was like!!

What really sticks in my craw is that this preparation work on this apartment was going on for over two years, behind the scenes, at a cost to date over $200,000, and was almost a done deal, before they even came to the ADBA to inform us of their plans. They knew it was not going to fit in the C7 zone. It didn’t meet any of the criteria. Did they care? No. Are they concerned about losing? Nope, it won’t cost them a dime, paid for by you and me, through our tax dollars. Any organization that is honest, upright, has integrity or just plain cares for their neighbour would have come to the ADBA first, like many prospective businesses have, before they spent a dime. They didn’t, they don’t care, they are not a good neighbour. The entire ACS should be gone from the downtown – they have no integrity!

Check out something else. Where are all the services located that the people to be housed will need? Not in the ACS building, on Montrose, no, they have all been moved to other locations, mostly the Clearbrook area.

As far as my efforts helping people that are hurting, addicted or just plain broke? I’ve done my share, over and over again, gave them shelter in our house, hired them, fed them, did whatever I could, sometimes it worked, most times not. Do some research Andrew, find out what my involvement was in the revitalization of the downtown, then you will know why I am so opposed to this rezoning. I’m not against housing the homeless, just where its planned. I don’t think I can go through that again, I don’t have the energy. Why not ask the residential neighbours in the area what they think?

Perhaps it may have been wise, before you hitched your wagon to this train, to find out who’s on board and where it’s going and where it will eventually take you and the News. You can only hope this thing doesn’t pass!! It will not be good for anyone!

Robert Bos