Plecas.MLA, Darryl
Hi Gerda. I am not clear on what you would be expecting that the minister res…
11:28 AM (19 hours ago)

Gerda Peachey <gerdapeachey@gmail.com>

6:26 AM (5 minutes ago) Reply
to Darryl, Tricia, Henry, George, Nick, Darren, Bill, Mike, Simon, Nancy

Hello Darryl:  Thanks for sending my email to Tricia Tayor, who I’m assuming is the person overseeing Municipal Affairs.

You do sort of catch the main thrust of my concern that the senior government has to come in and review the seriously flawed process whereby our City Council brings proposals to a Public Hearing. The Minister who oversees municipal procedures needs to step in and stop the current way of doing things here.

Starting with the assumption that all government, in a democracy such as ours, exists to serve the people who vote for them, and will work on our behalf, so that we may all live in relative peace and prosperity.

That is my starting point, as it should be for all civil servants and elected representatives.

What would you say to your butler if you came home and he told you he’d given away your Persian carpet?  That isn’t an idle comparison.  Our Council came perilously close to yanking the ground beneath our properties away, and would have achieved their aim, but for a mistake caught by a man in our community.

The rules governing our homes and land are far more valuable to us than any Persian carpet to a rich master.  But that master would certainly regard his butler with some suspicion, consider him an unfaithful servant and possibly show him the door.

We, (some 150 property owners), bought here knowing we were restricted to mobile homes.  The Province holds a Land Use Contract dating to about 1972.  There is no expiry date on these.  We’ve felt protected by that restriction.  Because not everyone wants to live in a mobile, these properties have been more affordable and many people got their first homes here.  Families could save enough to get into larger homes, and other grateful people scrapped together enough money to purchase their first home.

We got the news about you at the Provincial Level wanting to be rid of all the LUCs by 2024, and that it was up to the Municipal governments in BC to assign zoning.  Abbotsford said it was aiming to get all those changes made by 2022.

That seemed okay to most of us.  Hardly anyone had a lot of data as to how removing the current LUC would impact our future, but at least we had a few years to explore the options.

Then, in mid-July, 2016, City Hall announced a Public Hearing to remove the LUC on 2090 Oakridge Crescent.

I hasten to say here that staff at City Hall have been most willing to meet with any concerned residents, and been quality in their handling of enquiries.

But their kindness does not mitigate the terribly flawed process being utilized by the City of Abbotsford that almost allowed the rug to be yanked from under us, …..a community kept in the dark, by the design of a process with insufficient time built right into it.

Staff confirm that,…..had the 25th hearing gone ahead, and had Council voted to approve the application of K.K. Gill,…….that decision would NOT have been reversed.

If Ms. Gill had been approved, for the cost of $1.00 to have the LUC restraint removed, she would have been free to build a 3 – storey house on 40% of the footprint, with a secondary suite.  This would be a precedent setter. Speculator landlords, who’ve been aggressively snapping up these last bits of affordable housing, will similarly request the removal of LUCs to let them pull out the mobiles and build large houses with suites.

The process whereby speculators/developers can move into a neighbourhood like ours, one of the last affordable housing havens, is fundamentally flawed and greatly favours the developer, while essentially stopping the affected community from involvement in the process.

Most certainly this hearing was not called for the good of the many.  Most people seem to want the City to designate us as future modular homes. This Sept. 12th hearing is to accommodate a speculator whose plans will disrupt the entire community, since many speculators will follow suit.

The protective LUCs should not be removed piecemeal.

The Monday Council Agenda for the Executive (afternoon at 3 PM) and Regular Meeting (evening at 7 PM) are posted on the City website at end of day Friday.   I don’t know many working people who think they have to continually keep an eye on Council agendas. There has been much talk over the years  to get that Agenda set on Wednesdays but, ….here we are.

If staff recommends a developer’s proposal to Council for approval, it gets 1st and 2nd reading at once.  That may be LEGAL, but it is a FICTION to pretend you’ve done a second reading of a by-law amendment, when you’ve done nothing of the sort.

Historically those first, second and third readings were set up to prevent the very thing that is happening now.  There have been Council meetings where first, second and third were all read in one breath. Time for information to be transmitted and processed and pondered,……is truncated.  This might be legal mumbo jumbo, but its a deception that needs to be stopped.

Council pretends they’ve done two readings of a proposal, declare themselves satisfied to send it to a Public Hearing, two weeks away, to their next regular Monday meeting.

In terms of the 2090 Oakridge Cr. application, which was badly botched, at least the community could catch it’s breath and analyze things, resulting in a bit of engagement with City Hall.  A number plan to attend the re-scheduled hearing set for Monday, the 12th.

Your 10 day minimum for the delivery of a letter to inform the populace of an impending Public Hearing does not give people enough time,…..but in practice, our Abbotsford civic leaders do not care to ensure [that residents get even] that paltry number of days. Delivery is dependent on the pace of mail service.

At present the developer, who finds favour with City Hall, is given preferential treatment, for projects which could have negative impacts on the surrounding neighbourhood property values or quality of life.

– Once an applicant’s proposal is deemed ready to go forward, the proponent must plant a Re-zoning Proposal sign on the subject property, with specific  size and design, and this has to be up for three weeks before first reading.

– Council does 1st and 2nd Reading  (all in one breath)

– Council CAN deny the applicant at this point.  Or they can send the proposal to a Public Hearing.

– Once approved for a hearing, staff prepares post-card size notifications that get mailed Tuesday. Cards begin to arrive Wednesday, Thursday,  Friday and into the second week.

So in real time,at the absolute most, the recipients will have NINE BUSINESS DAYS TO HEAR ABOUT AND PREPARE THEMSELVES FOR A PUBLIC HEARING. The five neighbours who got their cards September 6th, four business day is all they got. Sure this is round two, so we are informed, but this now is an anomaly, not the norm.  The first round was a close shave that undermined confidence in the integrity of City Hall.

– The local newspaper is to carry 3 notices, after the hearing is set.  Friday, Wednesday and again on Friday.

Can you begin to comprehend how bad this is?  The government generously gives itself 30 business days, easily extends that to 60 business days and beyond to answer FOIs.  I’m now into about month seven on my FOI to you regarding the contract you made with Merck to inject Gardasil into our little public school children.

Lawyers draw out expensive trials to interminable lengths using the most feeble of reasons for the delays. But the humble people whose life-savings are invested in their homes can make do with, at best a few weeks notice of a Public Hearing.

Provincial legislation that requires municipalities to deliver notification of a Public Hearing AT LEAST 10 DAYS BEFOREHAND, is disrespectful of ordinary working men and women.  Ten days is a ridiculous and totally inadequate period of time to give the public, whom you are there to serve and protect.  But here in Abbotsford, even that inadequate 10 day window is further shortened, dependent on the pace of mail delivery.

Ten days is clearly insufficient for matters of such importance to property owners.  If people leave home for a two or three week holiday, they can come home to find someone slid in behind their backs and got a by-law amendment that might cause them grief.

How could you, with any integrity, allow the public whom you promised to serve, be treated with such disdain? 

There is still no sticker on the sign at 2090 Oakridge, to tell the public date, time and place of the Public Hearing.  But hey, evidently that’s okay.  We give the proponent/developer every concession in Abbotsford.

For many of us the removal of the LUC is not welcome. We bought affordable housing.  We felt protected by the LUC.  We accept that now there is a sunset date of 2024, and knew Abbotsford was aiming for the year 2022 to resolve all their LUCs. What would the changes be, how would they affect us, should we consider selling now,  build a house, or move far away.  We had years to plan.

And then, with breath-taking speed,……EIGHT YEARS BEFORE THE PROVINCIAL DEADLINE, the City grants a hearing to a speculator who would set a precedent that creates a domino effect from other land-use speculators.  If Council grants the Gill request on Monday, this community will rapidly change from affordable housing to very large houses, and many will pay for themselves by way of suites,…..multiple, Illegal suites,…..because that is the norm in Abbotsford.

BC Assessment evaluates on the potential created by nearby properties.  So people here who do not have a lot of money left at month end, can conceivably lose their properties to higher taxes.

This scenario of springing important hearings on the hapless public should never be possible again.  Please send your Minister to revoke the current flawed process, so that the paying public is given a far more reasonable period of time to learn about proposals that may impact on their lives.

Yes, I’m able to meet with you or with Tricia Taylor to talk this over.  And maybe, as Abbotsford’s flawed process affects the whole municipality, I’d be glad to include a few of the people who can fit such a meeting around their work schedules.

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Gerda Peachey

(I’ll send this to the people on my neighbourhood list)

On Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 11:28 AM, Plecas.MLA, Darryl <Darryl.Plecas.MLA@leg.bc.ca> wrote:

Hi Gerda. I am not clear on what you would be expecting that the minister responsible for municipal affairs should do here. Unless I am missing something, I am reading that your concern is that the city has moved too quickly on holding a hearing and that the entire process as a matter of course should be more drawn out. To allow affected citizens more time to think through potential concerns. Am I right on this? Perhaps we can meet so that I can be fully understand what you want to see changed. In any event, I am thinking that I should also meet with the city first to properly understand what concerns it might have with any proposed changes. I have cc’d this email to Tricia Taylor, so that she might connect back with you on a meeting day and time that works for you. Many thanks, Darryl.

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