Mayor and Council never consulted our community, and now declare themselves inaccessible because they are in deliberation after the Public Hearing. Who stands to benefit most from this LUC discharge?
To: Darren Braun <dbraun@abbotsford.ca>, Nick Crosman <ncrosman@abbotsford.ca>, George Murray <gmurray@abbotsford.ca>, “deJong.MLA, Mike” <Mike.deJong.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, Darryl <Darryl.Plecas.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, “Gibson.MLA, Simon” <simon.gibson.mla@leg.bc.ca>, “systems@ombudsman.bc.ca” <systems@ombudsman.bc.ca>, peter.fassbender.mla@leg.bc.ca

Hello Darren and Nick:

To date you have not sent an answer to my question about what ‘grandfathering‘ means for our neighbourhood.

In the event that City Hall decides to make the underlying zoning RS3 apply to all 159 properties here, what does that mean for our future?

It becomes more clear all the time that land-use speculators want the land many of us purchased in good faith, with a known Land Use Contract limiting the homes to mobiles.

We do expect significant changes by 2024, because of Bill 17, signed by the Provincial Government in 2014, but no one expected the sudden move you made in the middle of summer holidays, 8 years before the sunset date. You people facilitated a developer’s application to change our 44 year old land use,  years before you needed to fulfil the Provincial discharge.

From the start this business has been flawed and rushed, but now you do not answer this one really important question, though I, and others have asked it, repeatedly,  in person and by email.

Why would you not answer something so critically important to us, before the Council meets again next Monday?

If you make all of us a RS3 zoning, a designation THAT DOES NOT ALLOW FOR MOBILES OR MODULARS,…………then what assurance, or guarantees or promises are there in place from our City Hall leaders that will protect the present home owners?

In the event that someone needs to replace their existing mobile, for any number of reasons,…….what then?  Is it just ‘tough luck’.  You’ll have to sell and move off your land if you can’t come up with the money to build a new house?

Or what about all the people who have always kept up their homes, or even those who’ve recently brought in modulars? Their homes are in great shape, with years of viable life ahead.  Will the time come when our local government says, ‘Hey your ‘Grandfather‘ died so you can no longer keep a mobile on land zoned RS3?

The fact that you remain silent on this question makes me think that City Hall has capitulated to the pressure of people who want to get their hands on our land.

Why else would you not answer this question for the honest, tax-paying, ordinary people who live here?

Too much about the K.K. Gill proposal has been handled in a sloppy manner, one that favours this precedent-setting LUC discharge to the advantage of all the other land-lords waiting to flip their acquisitions for higher profit.

Despite all the flaws Council seems bent on pleasing land-use speculators.  None of this is about affordable housing, because to approve the first discharge is to open the flood-gates to RS3 and potentially ripping the land away from the current moderate income owners, by taxes rising to match the assessed value the speculators intend to build.

Why your silence about those people who can afford higher taxes, and want to go on living in their humble mobiles?  What was meant when your staff assured one of our neighbours not to worry because we are ‘grandfathered‘?  You do not say.

You need to spell that out, and before Council votes on this application.

There is much in the news about the criminal activity swirling around real estate.   I find much to admire about our Minister of Finance Mike de Jong, but his name comes up in the present LUC discussion. When a powerful government figure has a significant historical link to my community, there must be no hint of influence peddling.

All the more reason to remind you that Council almost approved this application by Gill, before almost anyone here had wind of those plans.

The application hardly missed a beat.  You, Darren and Nick did not alter a thing, even when you knew that our community was shocked and dismayed by the sudden move to change the ground beneath our feet.  The re-zoning sign did get put up, but contrary to your rules, the sign was blocked pretty much every evening and all weekends.  Even more seriously, the applicant did not add the sticker that your own regulations said had to be added immediately upon being granted a Public Hearing.  Mayor Braun dismissed that as of no consequence, given that some of the neighbourhood did show up for the Hearing.  Some were there, but it was not thanks to our Mayor or any of the Councillors, or the complete absence of prior consultation by anyone at City Hall.

Council wants this to be a done deal, so [with] your own rules are irrelevant.

Mayor Braun allowed proponents to speak, who said they lived here, but gave no address.

One man, of unknown address said he was a one-third owner of a property here.  Minister of Finance Mike de Jong was once, and may still be a one-third owner of a property here. That might be mere coincidence.  The Gill application is very consequential to our entire community, yet to date you refuse to answer a fundamental question as to how much of an impact this change this will set in motion.

Mr Gill, the owner of the subject property invoked Mike de Jong’s name, how the MLA advocated for and and got approval of Bill 17, as a reason why Council should approve his application.

Our Minister of Finance has many dealings with China.  He is also an active buyer and seller of real estate.  There has been a lot of corruption in money laundering that honest realtors have begged the government to address:  The land has become very valuable to speculators and we sense that we, the owners of this land, have become disposable to the rich and powerful who want it.   So please do not make this look shady business, by refusing to answer the community, that you couldn’t be bothered to consult beforehand.

From Ike Awgu, Huffington Post,  06/07/16

 

It is not simply a situation whereby the wealthy from abroad have come to love our cold weather (in Toronto) or rainy season (in Vancouver), Canada’s global cities have become a place where the international wealthy but corrupt can clean and park their illegal cash. 

At least 85 real estate companies in Canada have not implemented a plan showing how they are trying to detect money laundering or other suspicious transactions; and why would they? This is a commission-based business, remember? 

Cities like Vancouver have become places where corrupt Chinese officials can openly flaunt their money. Money that at its core, represents a theft of wealth from the Chinese people, the majority of whom still have an average income of around $10,000 Canadian a year — or a fifth of what the average Canadian earns. 

We are turning a blind eye to a massive theft of wealth from poor people on the other side of the world — and for the most part we are doing it on purpose. 

“The realtors appear not to be taking the rules [for detecting money laundering] or the reporting obligations seriously, and Fintrac seems to not be too concerned when they see mass non-compliance.”

 

The swift and shoddy manner in which Abbotsford’s leadership has come at my community smells bad.  You need to show us that nothing underhand is going on, with our local government.  So far not much looks above board or honest.

Do not yank affordable housing away from those who own it, to give it into the hands of people Council wants to please.

Please answer the simple question about ‘grandfathering‘.

Thank you,

Gerda Peachey

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