Letter: It’s our right to ask about transition house project

The facility requires 24-hour security for good reason. We don’t have 24-hour security and we have adjoining fence lines, couple writes.

Re: Mr. Matheson’s editorial “Prejudice is unfortunate.”

We are impressed that a retired lady’s letter to the editor rattled your chain.

First, Mr. Matheson you do not know any one of us on a personal basis. We take offense to the strong language you used to describe those who live in our cul-de-sac. It is discriminating and stigmatizing at its best.

Those that wrote letters to the city all support a transition house in our community. We simply voiced our opinion (freedom of speech) and sent copies to the Boundary Women’s Coalition (BWC) out of courtesy as we were referring to a development that was going to be operated by their organization. Our main concern was the location.

We simply stated that the demographics of the adjoining neighbours are of retirement age. Mr. Matheson, many of these people are women, daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers and are concerned for their safety and well-being. This facility houses victims that are escaping violence.

The facility requires 24-hour security for good reason. We don’t have 24-hour security and we have adjoining fence lines.

Yes, we questioned the value of our properties which are our lifetime investments. If given a choice, the majority of the public would not purchase next to a transition house. That’s just being honest and we do not believe statistics that state otherwise.

We also continue to question why we were not canvassed or told prior to the announcement. Temporary signage on the proposed site for a few hours does not constitute public notice. It is unfortunate, Mr. Matheson, that you do not feel there was any obligation to notify neighbours. Mr. Smith, the planning consultant hired by the city, felt it should have happened.

The city did not disclose that piece of information in the Gazette. Ask the BWC if their strategic planning included notifying the residents. Jordan Bateman (B.C. director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation) said in an email to us, “BC Housing is usually better than this when it comes to engaging the public.”

The mayor informed us at a council meeting that when he was at the public announcement for the proposed transition house, he looked around and said he hoped someone advised the residents what was transpiring in their backyard.

Our community has never had a second-stage or long-term housing like this project, which can house up to 20-plus women and their families. Our current transition house has operated in a “Community Use Zone” for the past 25 years.

Surely, the city would work proactively with the BWC and BC Housing. We questioned the city as to why there was no committee for the transition house development to ensure all stakeholders were represented fairly.

Do not think we are naive and do not understand what can be built in a R-3 Multifamily Residential area.

Asking questions, Mr. Matheson, is being proactive and doing our due diligence. It is our right. We respect everyone as an equal and take pride not to judge others. Nobody is exempt from any form of violence and violence does not discriminate with regards to age, social status, education or affluence.

However, if you quote one’s rights please do so without prejudice, Mr. Matheson.

– Wayne and Connie Hajdasz, Grand Forks

 

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