Upon retiring from teaching in Abbotsford 12 years ago, it took us two years to find our home. One of the many reasons we love the Topaz Park neighbourhood is because of its strong sense of community.
Over the past two years, we have seen the park slowly deteriorate as the homeless have taken up residence. Besides the health and sanitation issues, I no longer feel safe walking in the park after being confronted and challenged last fall.
A “temporary” tent city is not an acceptable option at many levels.
In two years, the city council will be dealing with the powerful force of the homeless who will not want to give up “their rights.” The park will be lost to the community. The word “temporary” will not be in their vocabulary.
Homeowners and renters who border Topaz Park will not remain silent while their neighbourhood deteriorates and property values decline.
I am extremely concerned that there was no consultation with the stakeholders in the neighbourhood: residents, businesses, school district, sporting groups and organizations that pay to rent the park.
I believe this proposal will have a far-reaching consequence. How we deal with the homeless in our area should be a concern to all the residents of Greater Victoria.
All councils should be working together with Victoria to create a permanent solution that will benefit not only the homeless, but also residents, businesses, schools and sporting groups.
A Band-Aid solution is no solution.
Dorothy and Bruce Reimer