Friday July 28, 2017




Getting Your Ducks in a Row

Two questions Chilliwack City Hall and Fraser Health can't answer

Staff/Voice file photo


A homeless woman  sits outside the Chilliwack Courthouse in May 2017.


eality sucks. Once Party in the Park rolls up its rug it's back to a slate gray Five Corners.


Three weeks ago I contacted Fraser Health with two questions. So far, they haven't responded.


It was reported yesterday that Chilliwack City Hall is squabbling with Fraser Health Authority (FHA). While they're embroiled in e-mail wars, people are dying on the battlefield.


Handing out needles are the City's last defense against the crisis plaguing the streets.


Addiction, medical care and mental health are FHA's job. Homelessness and sanitization are the municipality's responsibility. Argument over.

When you're trying to be a city councillor, one of your duties is to spot trouble  before it happens so the municipality is somewhat prepared.

But in this case Chilliwack City council has chosen to ignore the issues.

My two questions to Fraser Health were simple but so far Fraser Health has not responded:

1. Do they have plans to assist street-level groups such as 5 and 2 and;

2. Can they apply pressure to Chilliwack City Hall to reinstall not one porta  potty, but porta potties and in a less visible place instead of at Chilliwack's "show" corner.

The situation has spiraled out of control. Whatever scheme thay come up with needs to happen now. It needs follow-up and harm reduction programs and social work.

Groups such as the Downtown BIA and Chilliwack Tourism have to work in unison with the municipality.

You can't have homeless people and drug addicts defecating wherever it's convenient downtown.

I spoke briefly with a lawyer one morning who had a shovel in his hands and was busy "scooping". He wasn't that happy but considered it a fact of life now.

Five Corners resembles Calcutta. You can't have an outhouse at a city gem and major tourist attraction. Which one of the vastly overpaid upper-level staff came up with that empty-headed idea.

Without outhouses, the next thing to follow will be an epidemic of preventable, human-caused diseases that'll affect everyone in the community. Council should have a plan in place to deal with the sanitation issue because it's going to get worse as homeless people are squeezed up the Fraser Valley.

Chillwack City Hall's issue is not FHA's problem and vice versa.


Reality lurks tomorrow night when "Party in the Park" pulls up the rugs.



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