Homelessness workshop turned into fiasco

Re: “Reaction mixed to plan for tax levy to house homeless,” Sept. 17.

I am one of the Topaz Park neighbours who made a stand against tent cities in our parks. I went to the “workshop” on homelessness Wednesday night with a fear that the minds of Mayor Lisa Helps and Councillor Ben Isitt are already made up.

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The huge number of folks attending who obviously had personal issues with homelessness surprised me and I was ready to listen with an open mind. I dismissed as paranoid a suggestion that the meeting had been stacked.

However, when Helps’s opening remarks were interrupted by people shouting for their money, she acknowledged that low or no-income attendees were being paid an “honorarium” to attend. This was followed by open mikes taken over by very loud and angry men using violent and abusive language. This is a focus group? This is democracy?

Despite the number of police, ambulance, security and city staff present, I didn’t feel safe, and left early.

All this fomenting and dishonesty will not convince me that our chronic yet urgent issues with homelessness are either a crisis or an emergency, no matter how many times this big lie is repeated.

I will continue to observe, attend and contribute, but I have absolutely no confidence in the leadership on city council. I can only hope that the damage being done to our city can be fixed by the next mayor.

My poor city.

Barbara Wiggins







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