The HEAT shelter controversy just doesn't seem to being going away for Mayor Robertson. Rather than taking our advice and removing Councillor Jang as his council cabinet minister for this file, the Mayor stubbornly sticks to his plan.
CityCaucus.com has obtained a letter written by a local resident to the Government of BC asking that they no longer fund the second shelter located in the False Creek North neighbourhood. The letter was signed by a local resident who claims the toxic situation in the neighbhourhood has not improved much with the closure of one of Robertson's no-barrier HEAT shelters.
Here is an excerpt from the letter:
Thank you for listening to and acting upon the concerns of the residents of False Creek North regarding the 2 HEAT shelters in the 1400 blocks of Howe and Granville Streets. As we had indicated in our previous correspondence to your offices, there appeared to be little distinction between the 2 shelters. The interchange and interplay between the shelters were obvious as was the attraction to both of the predators and criminal outside element. This appears to be borne out by the continuing lawlessness and illegal activity in the neigbourhood.
We now also have a number of so-called protestors who have erected a tent city of sorts in the alley behind 1442 Howe Street. My observation is that some may be protestors. However, the majority again appear to be an unruly outside element who wish to be close to the “party scene” going on at and around the Howe St. shelter.
Regardless of who they may be, they are flagrantly defying law and order, and may be attempting to “blackmail” the authorities while creating a serious health hazard with the accumulated garbage and public urination/defecation. In addition, their very presence poses a threat to the neighbourhood’s safety with wide-spread illicit drug use and dealing.
An early closure of the Howe St. shelter may prompt them to disband, failing which the authorities should step in to remedy this deplorable situation. The City seems reluctant to enforce its own bylaws or the laws of the land – why? I sincerely hope it is not to teach the community a lesson for its challenge to Vision’s attempt at social experimentation. We now learn that on July 13th a right turn on Pacific onto Hornby will no longer be permitted to the detriment of the Hornby St. businesses. This will force traffic flow to turn right on Howe St., which is predominately a residential street. Coincidence?
We have also obtained a number of photos recently taken in the area which show people defecating in back lanes and getting arrested by the police (see above). If these photos were in fact taken since the closure of the first HEAT shelter, it would appear the situation in the neighbourhood remains bad.
The advent of a "tent city" could also prove problematic for the local residents if it grows into something larger. Needless to say, emotions are still running very high in the community over the Mayor's lack of consultation on his HEAT shelters.