Well, everything should be right about using some portion of our taxes paid into government coffers to mitigate the despair and misery of the less fortunate in society.  Seen from that perspective it is good that the citizens of BC provide help to the homeless.

What is needed at every point is complete transparency as to how much is flowing into ‘non-profit’ societies who run the various organizations, as middle-men.  And for years the government did not exercise careful oversight on Marc Townsend and his Portland Hotel Society in the DTES.  Beginning in 2002, the PHS resisted giving a clear accounting for the taxpayer money they were spending.  We know about PHS, not because of government transparency, but because of the tenacious work of media that Mr. Townsend, his wife, fellow directors and even MLA Jenny Kwan enjoyed luxurious, pampered lifestyles on the money designated to help the poorest of the poor.

Rich Coleman saw no need for a police investigation, and so life goes happily on.  Who among us, watching, and hearing about the lavish, opulent lifestyles enjoyed by PHS staff, would not conclude that the ‘Misery Industry’ is a most desirable career choice?

So the tax-paying public has a lot of reason to ask serious probing questions about a proposed expansion of more low-barrier housing at the Thunderbird Inn, in the city of Hope.

Residents around the existing facility say that essentially the men there are being warehoused, that far more oversight, and genuine healthy care has to be provided.  The locals say the Thunderbird is responsible for increased crime in their community.  They believe people are being shipped out to Hope, people who have no roots there, that the number of homeless and addicted far exceeds what a community as small as theirs would warrant.  (The Wikipedia excerpt below is obviously not up to date because the current mayor is Wilfried Vicktor.  But note the 2011 population number is 5,969.)

So Thursday evening there is another public meeting.  But this is hardly being run by unbiased, objective people.  The moderator Gerry Dyble may be as pure as the driven snow, but to my mind there is a really big conflict of interest playing out in Hope.

Ms. Dyble, as a City Councillor can certainly exercise powerful influence over council decisions, regarding land use, buildings, expansions, re-zoning, etc.

Ms. Dyble has a consulting company that was paid to do a contract with the Thunderbird Inn in 2012.

Ms. Dyble is an employee of the Hope Transition Society, as Executive Director.   Again, hoping all the players are pure as the driven snow, there is however no question that more homeless people in Hope means more money to societies that provide services to the poor. So Ms. Dyble has a vested interest in this proposed expansion. Therefore all questions as to salaries, bonuses, expenses, pensions and every form of benefit should be open and transparent to the public, since they are the people who pay for all of it.

Ms. Dyble is said to be the moderator/facilitator of a public meeting (Hope Rec Centre Conference Room, Feb. 19/15  from 7 to 9 PM)  People there are concerned that there will be no opportunity for them to publicly air their questions and concerns.  Lets hope that, at least, changes, if that information is correct.  As I wrote to MLA Laurie Throness,…..“The business of controlling public meetings by way of written questions signals the intent to stifle genuine discussion.  Though the meeting at Silver Creek was charged with deep emotion and frustration, those people were exemplary in their expression.  Controlling the mike, controlling which questions get aired just affirms the scepticism of these people that government money, and closed door meetings have already determined what will be.”

When the Provincial government exercises better control over our hard-earned tax dollars, and deals with those ‘stewards’ who blatantly abuse the trust, and the monies placed in their hands, there will be far less need for citizen engagement.  It would be really nice to just go about our daily lives and trust that government was honest, diligent and open.  When that happens, we won’t need to be nearly as concerned about other homeless housing projects in BC.

Gerda Peachey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
District municipality
Municipal building and street clock with Memorial Park in background

Municipal building and street clock with Memorial Park in background
Hope is located in British Columbia

Country Canada
Province British Columbia
Region Fraser CanyonFraser Valley
Regional District Fraser Valley
Established 1848
 • Mayor Susan Johnston
 • Total 41.14 km2 (15.88 sq mi)
Elevation 41 m (135 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 5,969
 • Density 145.1/km2 (376/sq mi)
Website http://www.hope.ca/