Hello Dave:

As in the past, you are one of the rare councillors who bothers to answer your emails.  So thank you, and here’s my answer to your critique:

Our Land Use Contract is 44 years old.  All Provincial LUCs trump all municipal zoning.

The Province has set the year 2024 as the end of the line for their LUCs.  That is eight years down the road.

The BC Government’s mandate is indeed inevitable, which we all know, but you are quite wrong when you add the word IMMINENT.

Your move, between July 11th and 25th,  to grant a release from this LUC that has so wonderfully protected us since 1972, was at best thoughtless, maybe mindless.  You attempted to spring something of enormous import to us in the middle of a hot July summer vacation time.  A few cards dropped in your mail box (on the 12th?)  A few ads in a local newspaper that is not well read.  AND NO RE-ZONING SIGN ON THE SUBJECT PROPERTY.

And somehow that satisfied you, and our Mayor and your fellow Councillors, that you had done right by the city you govern. 

You, like Mayor Braun last evening have nothing to say about my central message, that ‘granting’ residents all of a 10 day window to hear about and act upon a Public Hearing, that directly impacts on their lives, is outrageous.   One couple here came home on July 26th.  The woman’s eyes dilated and her hand flew to her heart upon hearing that but for one alert man, their community would ALREADY have been on the way to mobiles gone, replaced by a three-story house and suite.  They were only gone for a few weeks.  Surprise!

I got your card on a Thursday and wrote a short letter that my little grandsons delivered for me in overwhelming heat. Had to pay them big for that. Thankfully one man understood more clearly than I did, just how illegal your swift move was, and on the day of your Hearing, you withdrew 2090 from the agenda.

Maybe all of you on Council get so into the rote of rubber-stamping everything in front of you that your minds are in danger of atrophy.   Because no thinking adult would not see that,……… what you did was shabby.

You allowed K.K. Gill, a woman who purchased 2090 Oakridge in March of this year to apply for the removal of the LUC, that she knew was on the property.  Staff confirm that approval of her application would have set a precedent.  There are numerous ‘landlords’ waiting eagerly for this to happen.

My reference to decisions made behind closed doors is not about your two-year Official Community Plans, to which the public was invited.  I’m referring to the years of watching Council.  When you come out and dispense with items before you in minutes, if not seconds, its obvious those things were all decided before hand.

Some of my neighbours favour the removal of the LUCs and I heartily endorse our collective freedom to express our views honestly and openly.

Nor would I ever object to home-owners being able to rent out one suite in their home, or even two rentals if they own larger parcels.  Because as you say we need more available housing, and many homeowners are hard-pressed to make ends meet.

You know that for YEARS I have consistently asked you, our Council, to “Make the rules by which we can all live communaly in relative health, wealth, peace, harmony and security.  For that to happen we need you to be leaders who are intelligent, courageous, just and fair.

You who make the rules under which we all live, therefore have to make laws that are first doable, reasonable, written with the good of your community in mind, and last of all, but enormously important is that YOU ENFORCE THE RULES THAT YOU HAVE CREATED, AND YOU ENFORCE THEM ON ALL OF US EQUITABLY, AND WITHOUT BIAS.

Sadly, that, Dave is where you and your Council colleagues have let Abbotsford down.

I’ve come to you people for decades now, asking that you either enforce the by-laws, or else admit you’re impotent to do so, and then just remove them and let everyone out on the playing field.  For years you have averted your eyes as landlords have stuffed their dwellings with illegal rental units, and become filthy rich as they’ve been allowed to by-pass Development Cost Charges, costly building codes, city building inspectors, no contribution on behalf of all their hidden tenants towards the communal costs of roads, schools, police, parks,…….or the upkeep of City Hall and your salary.  And lots of sweet, under the table rent money.  No annoying reports to government.  No taxes on that rent money.

Do the math.  The honest developer or landlord pays for all of the above, AND he reports all income faithfully to the government, so that he can pay his fair share of taxes to the government.  Not so for the scofflaws who’ve been using agricultural land, the lowest taxed land of all, and turning them into massive truck parks, turning fertile land into hardpan, dumping oil, gas and lubricants onto the land where it seeps into the aquifer.  No business licence, no taxes,….just the free flow of money into the owner’s pocket.

Of course you know all this.  You have been a Councillor in Abbotsford for many years.  You are well-connected.  You drive your car, presumably with your eyes open and alert.  If all that fails you,…. take a little plane trip over the city you govern, or look at Google maps.  You’ll easily see large truck parks making easy money for the owners.  Say $200. to $300 per truck, each month.  Continual flow allowing for 50 to 100 trucks easily, and no taxes to pay, because, after all these are not registered, legal businesse.

Yes, I could easily live with larger homes with a secondary suite here in my neighbourhood.  But I know way too many of those large houses are apartment houses, not traditional homes.  You’ve gotten away with brushing off complaints from affected neighbours for a long time.  They give up and you get voted back in.  Good job.

You and your colleagues lack the courage to enforce the rules you write.  Your laws are only for law-abiding residents.

Gerda

On Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 9:35 AM, Dave F. Loewen (Councillor) <DFLoewen@abbotsford.ca> wrote:

Good Morning, Gerda,

I have several points to make in response to your presentation to Council:

1. The Land Use Contract for the property in question dates back to 1972; 44 years – another time and another government. I find it difficult to understand that after a period of that length of time, one would not accept that change is inevitable, if not imminent.

2. The City has just concluded a two-year period of updating our Official Community Plan, which included numerous opportunities for the public to engage in dialogue with staff regarding proposed changes. Every parcel of municipal land was subject to this review. At the end, a wide variety of zoning changes were adopted, including one that affected your neighbourhood. One fundamental change is that secondary suites will now be allowed throughout the city, with only a few exceptions (eg. Cul-de-Sacs, lot size, etc.). In a time of escalating home prices and unaffordability issues, these suites will offer an avenue for young people and those on lower income to find accommodations in our city.

3. And that brings me to my third point – your neighbours have made investments in their properties, which I’m sure, many hope will provide financial security in the future. Your position would deny them the opportunity to capitalize on their position to either sell at a more favourable price, or develop it themselves with a suite to generate additional income. This opportunity is yours as well.

4. My last point is simply a reiteration of the first – the OCP Review was a two-year period with ample opportunity for public input. How can you say, with any integrity, that that is a “behind-closed-doors decision”?

Regards,

Dave Loewen

Sent from my iPad

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