Letter: Homeless cabin site bad idea and location

The police in Duncan have given up

Homeless cabin site bad idea and location

Hello mayor,

My name is Guy Labine and I am contacting you today on behalf of my 78-year-old mother and the several hundred seniors that will reside within 200 yards of the proposed location of the village homeless project.

This is not to say the risk is only to seniors. It is not only the seniors that will be impacted. This Is to highlight this area has a disproportionate amount of seniors.

The people who will reside in this camp are not willing and/or not able to become part of a better community. To say they are is complete fiction. I have had more than a few interactions with the homeless in the Cowichan Valley. Two of these interactions involved my safety being challenged and both times I called the police. One time the police would not even attend as they said no one was about to be imminently hurt. What a sad commentary that is that the police are now looking away in the same way that they do on the downtown Vancouver eastside. The police in Duncan have given up.

Are you really going to condone the building of another Oppenheimer Park? Anyone saying that this is different is full of crap. The people in there may have a better roof over their head and faster response time for overdoses but the fact of the matter remains these people have no interest in changing their ways. My son is a paramedic in the Cowichan Valley and he sees it all. Converse with him for an hour and even you will want to move away.

If the facts above do not concern you then maybe this will.

My 78-year-old mother will not be able to go to the grocery store or even a walk without risk of being accosted nor will the other 200-plus seniors and other citizens living within 300 yards of this homeless camp.

Has your legal and safety teams done a risk analysis of putting the camp 50 yards from the busiest intersection in Duncan? It is on the Trans-Canada Highway. This sounds absolutely nuts that this idea is being considered.

Have your legal and safety teams considered the inevitable lawsuits this could bring for negligence? These homeless individuals disregard traffic lights and signals and this will cause countless serious accidents, injuries, and eventually deaths to the homeless and put the rest of the population at great risk. Have your teams considered the impact on citizens and their families when an accident, and well after an accident occurs? Can you imagine living with the fact you accidentally hit or killed a homeless person for the rest of your life? Or worse, you swerved to miss them and hurt or killed multiple people in the process.

Any member of council voting to go forward with this project will have to live with these inevitable outcomes. They will all occur.

To say this camp will only run until September would also be complete fiction. History has shown once these are up they are up.

It was also noted that 30 per cent of the homeless in the Cowichan Valley come from different places.

As there are already two camps in service do you not think Cowichan Valley residents have not already endured enough?

Is that really the legacy yourself and others in power want to leave behind? That yourself and others not only allowed but encouraged Duncan to become a destination for the homeless?

If you build it they will come. History has shown that is the case.

Twenty years ago when I moved to the Valley there was almost no problem in this regard. The opioid crisis has no question played a huge part in the change.

Eight years ago when I encouraged my mother to move to the Valley, I said move to Duncan and get away from the crime and drugs on the mainland.

Now it is looking like I moved her to the Downtown Eastside. If this goes forward it will inevitably force her to move. How sad. If you do not believe me please go for a drive and look at the for sale signs that have just gone up right by the proposed site. It is not a coincidence these signs are up now.

Why does Duncan have to do another of these sites? There has to be 20 other island communities that have done zero in this regard. Duncan has done enough!

It is my understanding that despite a very short window of communication (consultation with the public) a very large number of people and businesses have and are coming together to fight this poorly thought out idea. I encourage you to listen to them. The impact of 60 people unwilling to become a part of our village should not impact the rest of the village’s wellbeing any further than it already has.

My mother’s well-being is important to me. If this proceeds she will move. She will not be the only one.

If that happens I can guarantee one thing. The council will be responsible for this.

That is another despicable byproduct that every member of the chamber will have to live with for the rest of their lives. I am sure that is not the reason yourself and others chose these public offices. I am equally sure you do not wish to have your legacy being the downfall of Duncan as a community. You did not create the opioid problem but you will in fact have condoned and even encouraged its prevalence and growth within the Cowichan Valley with these actions.

Rational thought has to prevail.

It is a bad idea and a terrible location.

Guy Labine

former Cowichan resident