A neighbour got this at his door today.  Looks like the realtors got a whiff of an injured neighbourhood.  Can it be that they, like the speculators figure they had our unique little spot of affordable housing all tied up, in a neat little gift, offered up by our trusted leaders as a sacrifice to the moneyed and influential folk in Abbotsford?

Clearly the motley trailer dwelling low-lifes never factored in Council and Planning Dept. deliberations.  A mere ten days notice is good enough for that riff-raff to get wind of the big plans we have for them.

Some nice ‘affordable housing‘ there boys.  ‘Easy pickins’.  Just got to get a fast by-law amendment jammed through, before anyone living there gets wind of what we’re licking our chops over.

I’ve never met Dave Andrews, and he really might be a sterling sort of chap, but I sincerely hope that as he peddles his trade in my neighbourhood, he has enough integrity to let people know that if they sell here, they will be hard pressed to find anywhere from Lions Bay to Hope,….anything to compare with the lovely properties we currently own here.

Realtors and speculators are engaged in legal activity, to be sure.   But this is a shabby business our trusted leaders are involved in.  Our community should have been consulted, given information, given TIME to ponder and prepare for the removal of our Land Use Contracts by the final year of 2024.

Now we see a rush to remove an LUC – piecemeal – a move that I believe will unleash a flood of similar requests from people who bought, not to live here, but to push for a re-zoning that will radically alter our neighbourhood.

City Hall needs to stop and study this unique oasis of 159 homes, not let land-use speculators drive their decision making process.

We had a Public ‘Hearing’.  We spoke, in fact the majority pleaded with Council, not to grant the applicant’s request…….Was there anyone high up above us, on that lofty platform,……. listening?

Lest you think I’m kind of over-reacting,…..bear with a bit more background.  Council was poised to approve this by-law amendment on July 25th.  The earliest notice anyone here got was a postcard in the mail on July 14th, and some even later.  Many of the neighbours were away,…..it was after all summer vacation time.  There was no re-zoning sign on the subject property.  Please look at a calendar, and note that four of those days are week-ends when no city staff are available.

We managed with so precious little time to meet one another and talk and contact city staff, and write emails and make phone calls.  But it was a ridiculous, insulting and disdainful amount of time for our community to realize what Council planned to do.

They had to cancel the first hearing because it was illegal.  We asked staff this,…..’If the Public Hearing had not been stopped, on that very day, and if, as was expected the Mayor and Council had voted to approve the application,……..then if later on it was made known to Council that their vote was on a flawed application, one that was out of compliance with their own rules,………..then, would that decision been rendered null and void?  And the answer from staff was “NO“.  That decision would have remained. The applicant would be approved to rip out the mobile, first removal of LUC in 44 years, and replace it with a large (3 – storey is what staff told us) house and suite.

So that is the kind of slip-shod leadership that runs Abbotsford. Apparently they can be sloppy, make serious mistakes, and there is no recourse for the public.  Upon further inquiry, the staff said our only option as a community would have been to get legal advice.

Hhmmm. That is not likely to happen.  I’ve met a few neighbours, who bought because it was all they could afford.  They love it here, want to remain for a long time,  but are afraid that property taxes will rise if large houses replace mobiles, forcing them to sell because they just manage to make ends meet now.

There is little need for City Hall to do what is right, because people here don’t earn enough to think of suing anyone.  Why would anyone want to sue their own city council anyway?  Government is impervious, protected, shielded from the consequences of their decisions.  Citizens pay out of their own pocket to hire lawyers while the city pays out of those same pockets to pay their lawyers.   A lose, lose all the way for beleaguered citizens.

MLA Darryl Plecas understands that the ten-day minimum number of days required for a local government to notify affected residents of an upcoming Public Hearing is inadequate, and assured us that he would bring this up with Peter Fassbender.

Darryl thinks the minimum should be raised from ten to thirty days. Our properties, for most ordinary people, is our biggest financial investment, so that should be the absolute MINIMUM period of time to give people notice. Enough to allow them a fair chance at engaging in a discussion about the impact of proposed zoning changes.

Having a Mayor and Council be something more substantial than automatons, rubber-stamping staff recommendations would be an improvement too.