Why I Support the 3030 Gordon Homeless Shelter


3030 Gordon Homeless Shelter Coquitlam

Far too often we don’t pay a lot of attention to municipal politics. The vote turnouts are abysmal. There are approximately 12,342 municipalities in the Lower Mainland, so the media coverage isn’t as concentrated as it is at the Federal and Provincial level. With most of the discussion revolving around routine by-law and zoning changes, the business of the city you live in isn’t that sexy. But the fact is many of the decisions that directly affect the area you live in happen on these Monday and Tuesday nights. Sometimes, these discussions can get quite contentious, and tonight at Coquitlam City Council, we may be in for some fireworks. The long discussed 3030 Gordon Emergency Shelter & Transitional Housing is going to public hearing.

Let’s start at the beginning. With a very obvious homeless problem throughout the area, in 2001 the Tri-Cities Homelessness Task Group was formed. Three years ago, the Task Group identified an emergency shelter and transitional housing as the most urgent need to assist the area’s homeless people.

The City owned property at 3030 Gordon was named the preferred location two years ago. The City and BC Housing have been wrangling over it ever since, with the province looking for certain things to be taken care of, like proper zoning for the property. This brings us to this point in the story, where the land is to be rezoned, and tonight’s public hearing to discuss this.

Here’s a map of the site, it’s behind the Real Canadian Superstore, and on the other side of the railroad tracks from the nearest residential neighbourhoods.


View Larger Map

While the location is remote, there has been some vocal opposition to the site at 3030 Gordon. At first reading on the re-zoning in November 1 a large delegation spoke out against the shelter’s location. Some heated words were exchanged, one person threatened Mayor Richard Stewart, and the police were called. The residents are concerned that the shelter would lead to an increase in crime and vagrancy in the area. At the meeting Lou Sekora suggested that the shelter be located at Riverview instead, although that location would be much less accessible to local homeless.

The Tri-City News ran an interesting piece on the experience of Langley when they built a homeless shelter. Many of the same arguments were made when that shelter was built. Crime would increase, property values would plummet, etc. The thing is, none of these fears have come to pass. Many of the same arguments were made when the cold weather mat program started. The predicted demise of the neighbourhoods surrounding the participating churches has yet to happen.

The idea to put the shelter at Riverview is not workable on a couple of levels. Lack of food and transit options at Riverview are not conducive to helping people reintegrate into society. The shelter is not there to warehouse a problem that many of us in the middle class avert our eyes from. It’s to help our most vulnerable citizens get the services and support they need to get back on their feet. Leaving them in the Coquitlam River or in our back alleys is not only unproductive, it’s cruel.

So while I don’t very often take a stand on issues here at thev3h.com, this is too important to stand idly by and let Coquitlam Council get bullied into not doing the right thing. The location is right, the proposal is right, and we have not addressed the problem for way too long.

Again, the public hearing is tonight at Coquitlam City Hall at 7pm. Here are the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of Coquitlam City Council. Take 2 minutes today and let them know you applaud their efforts to finally take care of our forgotten homeless population.

Mayor Richard Stewart
604-927-3001 (Office)
604-314-4345 (Cell)
604-927-3015 (Fax)
Email: rstewart@coquitlam.ca

Councillor Brent Asmundson
604-616-6331 (Cell)
604-927-3015 (Fax)
Email: basmundson@coquitlam.ca

Councillor Barrie Lynch
604-616-3335 (Cell)
604-927-3015 (Fax)
Email: blynch@coquitlam.ca

Councillor Doug Macdonell
604-505-5574 (Cell)
604-927-3015 (Fax)
Email: dmacdonell@coquitlam.ca

Councillor Neal Nicholson
604-218-1398 (Cell)
604-927-3015 (Fax)
E-mail: nnicholson@coquitlam.ca

Councillor Mae Reid
604-464-0414 (Res)
604-927-3015 (Fax)
E-mail: mreid@coquitlam.ca

Councillor Linda Reimer
604-617-1490 (Cell)
604-927-3015 (Fax)
E-mail: lreimer@coquitlam.ca

Councilor Selina Robinson
604-729-0702 (Cell)
604-927-3015 (Fax)
E-mail: srobinson@coquitlam.ca

Councillor Lou Sekora
604-941-7917 (Res)
604-313-0500 (Cell)
604-927-3015 (Fax)
E-mail: lsekora@coquitlam.ca

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Comments

  1. Kirsten Anderson says:

    Thanks for this. Am writing Richard right away.

  2. Neal Nicholson says:

    Thanks for raising awareness of this important issue. The more we on Council hear, the better informed our decisions are.
    Neal Nicholson

  3. I am so happy that the Homeless Shelter proposal was passed!

    • It was a very important step for our community to start dealing with the homeless problem, let’s hope it moves forward quickly.

Trackbacks

  1. […] to many of you who wrote in or came out to support the rezoning of 3030 Gordon, the proposed Homeless Shelter is moving ahead. After nearly 70 speakers, council voted 8-1 to […]