The City of Abbotsford has issued an apology for dumping manure over a popular gathering place for homeless people in order to drive them out of the area.
“I am deeply sorry for our actions,” said city manager George Murray in a statement.
“The City will be removing the manure from the site and working closely with our community partners and the people impacted over the next few days to collectively resolve this issue.”
On Thursday Mayor Bruce Banman also issued an apology saying “we are deeply apologetic for any hurt that this may have caused. I personally feel incredibly bad that this has happened and since 2011 Abbotsford has had a very good working relationship with Fraser Health authorities and the police department, dealing with and homeless issues health intervention issues. We have a long history of support for that collaboration.”
“Clearly in this case that did not happen.”
The city dumped the truck load of chicken manure Tuesday and residents complained about the terrible smell.
“There’s people camping here and that’s the main reason they’ve done it, to get rid of them camping near the road,” said resident Ruth Schmolinkski, who added the homeless people in the area have never caused a problem for the neighbourhood.
Conservation officers investigated the complaint and are working to come up with a solution.
Pastor Jesse Wegenast said the practice of using manure to drive away the homeless is obscene.
“The most marginalized, the most vulnerable citizens are getting kicked and not given the chance to recover and get back up,” he said.
Wegenast said there needs to be a strategy in place for the city to address the issue of homelessness in Abbotsford.
“It was a clear, concerted effort with one goal in mind and that is removal, eradication,” he said. “It requires forethought… and in light of this it’s incredibly appalling how the city decided to deal with this.”
See more of the Mayor’s reaction here: