Wednesday, January 17, 2007

In the Beach, Out of the Cold

I wrote earlier about a group of people in the Beach (or the Beaches) who seemed to think that it was their right to tell a church it could not house twelve homeless people one night a week for twelve weeks. It seems their objections have been overcome, and the Church now has the go ahead.

Of course, all of this was absurd from the start, for the following three reasons:

i) A church shouldn't have to ask anyone for permission to undertake its duties, provided they are within the law.
ii) The total lack of evidence that such programs increase crime rates and reduce property values aside, there are already homeless people in the Beach. That they go unnoticed is just one more reason to support the program.
iii) If you think that government alone is going to solve the problems of homelessness than you are hoping against hope. Objecting to those organizations who are trying to step into the breach is to take an active role in worsening the conditions of those on the street.

Thankfully better senses have prevailed. Now, I wonder what are this person's views now. Someone should ask her, and someone should remind voters that she tried to stop this.

UPDATE: I've recieved quite a good comment about this post, which I shall reprint in it's entirety. I am happy to strikethrough the last paragraph of my original post, though I shall leave it up for the purposes of transparency. Thanks, Sean.

I live in the area, and I appreciate your attention to this issue. My neighbours who have opposed this project have dishonoured themselves and embarassed our community.That said, I'm not sure that Sandra Bussin ever actually opposed the project, her rather tortured comments on the matter notwithstanding. In discussion the other night with a fellow trying to whip up opposition to the Church's proposal, he saved his fiercest criticisms for Bussin, accusing her of fixing the consultation process in order to ensure that the proposal would succeed. In addition, she has been quoted in other local media as supporting project. I'm no supporter of hers, and she's certainly made a hash of things, but I don't think that she can fairly be described as an opponent of the project.Sadly, the real opponents continue to hide behind their lawyer, refusing to publicly identify themselves or even indicate their number. We have no way of knowing whether the protest was organized by a small or large number of protesters. I gather there were a number of mildly concerned residents who were glad to attend the meeting and obtain more information, but each of these people I spoke with was at pains to distance themselves from the people who hired the lawyer, claiming not to know how those homeowners were. The Church made a tactical error, I think, in not challenging the opponents to identify themselves, allowing them to delay this worthy initiative in the most cowardly possible, besmirching the whole community without putting their personal reputations on the line.

3 comments:

Sean said...

Peter,

I live in the area, and I appreciate your attention to this issue. My neighbours who have opposed this project have dishonoured themselves and embarassed our community.

That said, I'm not sure that Sandra Bussin ever actually opposed the project, her rather tortured comments on the matter notwithstanding. In discussion the other night with a fellow trying to whip up opposition to the Church's proposal, he saved his fiercest criticisms for Bussin, accusing her of fixing the consultation process in order to ensure that the proposal would succeed. In addition, she has been quoted in other local media as supporting project. I'm no supporter of hers, and she's certainly made a hash of things, but I don't think that she can fairly be described as an opponent of the project.

Sadly, the real opponents continue to hide behind their lawyer, refusing to publicly identify themselves or even indicate their number. We have no way of knowing whether the protest was organized by a small or large number of protesters. I gather there were a number of mildly concerned residents who were glad to attend the meeting and obtain more information, but each of these people I spoke with was at pains to distance themselves from the people who hired the lawyer, claiming not to know how those homeowners were. The Church made a tactical error, I think, in not challenging the opponents to identify themselves, allowing them to delay this worthy initiative in the most cowardly possible, besmirching the whole community without putting their personal reputations on the line.

sean said...

Interestingly, I've since learned that the "association" of ratepayers protesting the Out of the Cold Program consisted of exactly one person, who hid behind his lawyer who deliberately led the media to believe there was widespread opposition to the project.

Colour me even more confused as to why St. Aidan's didn't smoke this clown out, but instead allowed itself to be manipulated into delaying the program and making the whole community look bad.

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