Hello again neighbours:

 
This is the second, (and last) letter that I’ll distribute, regarding the proposal by K. K. Gill to get the Land Use Contract lifted on 2090 Oakridge Crescent.
 
As many of you know, the Public Hearing was set for July 25/16, at which time, in all likelihood, Mayor and Council would have voted in favour of Ms. Gill’s request.
 
One man in our community was alert to the fact that it was illegal for Council to advance such a significant re-zoning proposal to a Public Hearing, since the public essentially knew nothing about it.  No sign had been posted on the front of the property, so that hearing violated their own rules.  The item was removed from the agenda on the morning of the 25th and has now been rescheduled to Sept. 12/16. 
 
Council must repeat the 1st and 2nd reading of the By-Law amendment on August 29/16, before they can legally call for a new hearing.  Even now, they are under no obligation to grant this move to a Public Hearing, but the dye seems cast on this.
 
The sign was planted last Thursday. Contrary to City regulations, that sign is obscured by the renter’s white van, much of the time.  It’s where he parks, but this important sign must be visible to the community.
 
Our City leaders don’t have to remove the LUCs that cover Oakridge, Lombard, Crystal Court and Monarch Court, immediately!  The Provincial Government has set the year 2024 as the final end. Municipal governments aim to have new designations in place before that deadline, but it does not have to happen this minute.
 
There is no pressure, or moral imperative to make so drastic a move in our unique community with such haste, with no discussion, no consultation, no information, no transparency in the middle of the summer holidays,……..July of 2016.
 
Ms. Gill’s wish to pull out the existing trailer and build a large house and suite is a precedent setter.  If the City votes in her favour, you can expect to see other landlords who’ve snapped up the wonderful affordable housing here, to follow suit quickly with their holdings. 
 
It would have been great if all properties had sold to owner/occupiers, rather than to landlords.  It’s hard to know how many are already in the hands of speculators, eager to cash in on the cheap land they snapped up.
 
While our community will lose the LUCs by 2024, we can urge Mayor and Council to follow their own Affordable Housing Strategy – 2011, in which the first stated goal is to maintain present affordable housing.  
 
By giving in to eager land speculators, City Hall ensures the loss of some of the last affordable housing in Abbotsford.   
 
These large houses do not get built by altruism.  They generate a steady flow of rental money to the owners, often, (and sadly) by money flowing to the landlord via the rental of multiple illegal suites.
 
This is now so pervasive in Abbotsford that only the very naive don’t see what is happening in plain view.  Unfortunately it is also an inconvenient truth that our Mayor and Councillors seem determined to evade.  
 

This is not healthy leadership. Council writes the rules by which we must all abide, so it is deeply disturbing that they oversee the enforcement of by-laws in a hap-hazard, shoddy, suspiciously biased manner.

 
If something is deemed illegal, by their own definition, then it is imperative for our civic leaders to enforce their own rules and regulations.  Otherwise the word illegal has no meaning, and society grows jaded, cynical and far more disposed to ignore all laws themselves.  
 
 
Mayor and Council need to be civil. Provide a genuine opportunity, and reasonable time-frame for our approximately 150 homes and residents to plan for our futures. 
 
Do we want large, and possibly ‘monster’ houses to fill out lands that are now mostly well-kept homes, spacious lawns, trees and gardens?  
 
What impact will such a drastic change have on the quality of our lives?
 
Is our city taking away ‘affordable housing’ and gifting people wealthy enough to snap up the last of Abbotsford’s refuge from exorbitant prices?
 
What impact will lifting the LUC in place since 1972 have on the assessed value of our properties, if large houses with suites rise all around us?  Check the assessments on Cougar Court.
 
For those living close to the maximum of your income, will a substantial property tax increase force you to sell?
 
If we sell and leave this community, where can we find comparable land and dwelling, anywhere in the Lower Mainland?
 
If you know a house is being used for multiple renters, will you have the heart, (or the nerve) to report such by-law infractions, and if you do, what will the City do about that?
 
Mayor and Council seem to have given the green light to K.K. Gill before almost anyone here knew a thing about this radical change.  Officially they must vote on this at an open and public meeting, so this is not a done deal yet. 
 
Residents are still on holidays, who know nothing about any of this. No information, no opportunity to ask questions, no time to consider the implications for their lives, and families.  But for one alert man, Council would have slammed this through on July 25th. People would have come home to a shocking change.
 
Stay, sell, move, rent?  City Hall did not think we merited enough respect to allow time for these life-altering decisions.
 
Mayor and Council were under no obligation to move K.K. Gill’s application to a Public Hearing at all.  There is no mandate to rush the 2024 deadline to summer, 2016.
 
We definitely have to prepare for the removal of the LUC’s in the future, but there is something troubling about the lack of transparency displayed here.

Simple decency would suggest Mayor Braun and Councillors consider all of us who call this community home, to be of at least as much value as one speculator’s reach for profit.

 
Some of you have suggested I set up a petition. I have never set up a petition, but would not discourage anyone who thinks that might be helpful. 
 

What I would encourage is for everyone to contact Mayor Braun, Councillors and City staff.  (604-853-2281 is the main number). 

The staff at City Hall are helpful.  Get lots of information in writing, or emails as well as over the phone. 
 
Whether you see this as a positive or negative by-law amendment, get all the information you can, so that you’re equipped to make smart decisions on behalf of yourselves and your families.  
 
Let City Hall hear from you, preferably before September 12th, before Council have cemented their minds.  Coming out to the Public Hearing, in person, and voicing your opinion there, is of utmost importance.
 

Public speaking is said to be on a par with having teeth extracted, without the benefit of pain-killers, for most people. So bring along some Tylenol and plan to go to the microphone, Monday, Sept. 12th at 7 PM,

 
Hope to see lots of you there.
 
Gerda Peachey

ADDITION, Oct 27/16

The City has frequently accused me of “misinformation”, which looks like an attempt to deflect from the reality before us, of having a new zoning imposed that will entirely alter the character and quality of our neighbourhood.

For simplicity I’ll add the first letter here so both can be seen at once.  I made an error in this one that I corrected in a subsequent post, where I say K.K. Gill also owns the next-door property.  Two of the neighbours told me this, but later someone else thought that was not so.  Anyway at the Sept. 12th Hearing a fellow was with Mr. Gill who is the owner.  Mea Culpa.

(I delivered this on July 21/16)

Hello Neighbours:

Most of you will have received a notice in the mail, by now, about the Public Hearing to be held, Monday evening at 7 PM.

Karanjit Kaur Gill bought 2090 Oakridge Crescent in March of this year, and almost immediately asked Mayor and Council to remove the Land Use Contract that has covered our unique community since 1972.  If Council votes to grant this, the precedent will be set and all landlords who bought here as speculators can follow suit.

IF Council votes in her favour Ms. Gill can tear down the mobile and erect up to a 3-storey house with a legal suite, on 40% of the land.  She also owns 2098 Oakridge, the property next door.

Some of you may see this as a positive since for under a thousand dollars your land value may increase significantly.

Others of us may view this as the loss of something really wonderful.  Richard and I bought here because we liked the area. It was affordable and this has been our happy home for over 30 years.  From my perspective, removal of the LUC will not enhance life.

The assessed value of the large houses crowded into Cougar Court is radically higher, enabling the City to tax them more. If massive houses start replacing our mobile homes the assessed value may very well rise on all our properties, though we are content to live in humbler dwellings.

Whether removing the LUC is seen as an opportunity to sell up and buy elsewhere, or rip out the mobile and build a new home,……there are huge costs involved either way.  Our area has provided some 150 wonderful affordable homes, since 1972.  That may change radically, IF City Hall grants Ms. Gill’s request to change her property to RS3.

There can hardly be any affordable properties of our size left in the Lower Mainland.  Most places here still have trees, grass, bushes and flowers, something that is harder to find when large, multiple-suite houses replace small singe-family dwellings.  The Townline area has become a barren enclave full of large houses and illegal suites. And crime the City can’t seem to control.

Abbotsford Council does not enforce it’s own by-laws, so we can expect a lot of large houses will pay the mortgage with multiple illegal suite rentals.

The Province of BC want’s all Land Use Contracts removed by 2024, but it is only 2016 now. Ms Kaur is in a rush to flip her new property.  City Hall did not need to allow this request to go to a Public Hearing.  That they have done so signals their likelihood of voting in Ms. Kaur’s favour, but they saythey want to hear from all affected parties, before they decide on issues.

Whatever the majority of property owner’s want to see happen here,……...it should be you,…..  the whole neighbourhood who speaks to City Council.  It should be a robust representation of our 150 property-owners whose will is heard, and heeded, on Monday night.

A change as significant as this must not be enacted by Abbotsford City Council, based on the demand of one land-use speculator.

I hope most of us can be there, so that no matter ultimately what you want,  it is all of you who determine the future of Oakridge, Lombard, Monarch Court and Crystal Court.

Nick Crosman, the Assistant Planner (604-557-7067) does a good job of answering questions.

Thanks, and hope to see lots of our neighbours Monday the 25th.

Gerda Peahey

 

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