premier <>, “deJong.MLA, Mike” <>, Darryl <>,

To Premier Christy Clark, Mike De Jong, Daryl Plecas, Simon Gibson and the RCMP:

Last Friday, my friend and I drove East towards Hope, where a community of concerned citizens was meeting at Silver Creek Elementary School.

The topic important enough to draw these salt of the earth residents together on a Friday evening, after what for the majority of them, was a week of honest work, was the questions surrounding the Thunderbird Inn.

Some years ago, unbeknown to most of them, this establishment was rather sneakily converted into social housing, a transformation that boded ill for their future.

The change from Inn to low-barrier housing is said to have been very lucrative for the owner, and for the operator of the Inn.

Low barrier, for all intents and purposes is another way of saying, ‘NO BARRIER’.

Beyond all the government funded social services/mental health/4 Pillars/Housing First, or whatever jargon is used to push wildly drug-addicted, seemingly hopeless alcoholics or destructive mental illness into being integrated and absorbed within the rest of ‘normal’ society,……..beyond all their slogans and assurances are these beleaguered, abused,  decent, back-bone of society citizens.  Those folk who work and provide the taxes to pay for all things government.

So what were the people of Silver Creek saying?  To my ears they were crying out,……..enough!

Ostensibly the lovely young lady conducting the meeting, was only there to solicit their feedback.  She was only on a short-term research contract she told us,….. only there to get their feelings as to what should be the future direction for the Thunderbird Inn.  The young woman had few answers to their real questions, but deferred them to others, (who were not present to provide any answers.)

The stories they tell about life in Silver Creek and Hope-Flood Road area, after the Thunderbird Inn became Low-barrier housing for the BC Government – are the saga of a colossal failure.  Their homes, their properties, their roads, their children and even their lives are under attack. They tell of being attacked in their businesses, having drug-crazed or suicidal men throw themselves in front of fast-moving vehicles.  Men with hoodies and backpacks roaming their properties.

The proprietors/management of the Inn seem to do very well by the sick, the poor, the needy, the broken.  The Misery Industry does very well by the poor, most often the community does not.

The young woman said that she and a number of others had a meeting with Premier Christy Clark to convey the growing refrain of people across BC asking, begging, that Riverview be reopened to give desperately needed HOUSING, and MEDICAL CARE, AND PROTECTION, for these people who roam about our streets and businesses and private properties,…… a menace to themselves and to society.

Premier Clark, according to our facilitator,…….says there is no more money for that.  If Premier Clark pondered her vast power in the context of her even larger need for wisdom and integrity in ruling this province, she might consider the 10 to 12 million she tossed into the frivolous Times of India film fest, a big splash the Premier thought we should fund, (though no one remembers being asked).  Or the cool 6 million our provincial leaders thought we should pay to defend Basi and Virk, a couple of criminals, lest the police probe should penetrate even further into the halls of power.  Or what of the obscene benefits and bonuses that slide like warm butter into the hands of crown corporation CEOs.

But the message to citizens seems to be,……”We will continue to take a generous portion of your wages. We will continue to increase fees in myriad clever ways, so that at least half of all you earn flows into our hands.  Meanwhile don’t expect us to care for the desperately out of control addicts and criminals among you, we’ve got more glamorous designs on the public purse.  You just cope with them”

Well, it appears the Thunderbird Inn residents are in the habit of feeding their addictions by theft, which last we knew was considered a crime, so why don’t people just call the police?  Well they do, and indeed the police were represented at the Silver Creek meeting.  But people in the room said that phoning the police was mostly useless. The RCMP representative did agree that crime was up significantly, but Silver Creek/Hope  people say their calls for help are generally met with a lukewarm response.

Its hard to believe that the police would tell residents calling about theft or physical threats , “We can’t do anything about it,”  but that was a persistent complaint at this meeting.

Silver Hope people smell a rat behind this innocently portrayed, ‘just looking for feedback’ meeting.  They think more people will be housed at the Thunderbird, but not helped out of their addictions.   The ugly charge of NIMBYism was raised of course.  It’s time that charge got fired into the trash can where it belongs.

After the meeting I heard the police officer say to the young facilitator,……”typical small town conspiracy theories”……..a sneering, arrogant mentality!   Does this member of the RCMP represent our government’s attitude, as they continue to download their responsibility  for our broken, needy, ill, addicted and homeless?  Along with power, privilege and prestige of government positions, ideally we hope they do not forget the bit about being servants of the people.  I wonder if the police in Hope listen less to the common man than they should.

Premier Clark, please take your role as the most powerful leader in BC to heart.  There are people who must be constrained, for their own good, and for the general good of society, and you in government have abdicated your responsibility.

Allowing seriously addicted and mentally ill people to roam about freely, pillaging and threatening in order to meet their needs, robs ordinary, decent working people of their health, safety and security.  You need to provide housing and healing to these broken people, and we have given you the money to do that.

Gerda Peachey