Decision about homeless shelter ‘absolutely shameful’

Dear editor,
Absolutely shameful to learn the news that Courtenay council was forced to capitulate in the face of the paranoid fears of a small cadre of downtown merchants.

Dear editor,Absolutely shameful to learn the news that Courtenay council was forced to capitulate in the face of the paranoid fears of a small cadre of downtown merchants and agreed to look into another location for a homeless shelter site.Especially since learning that the downtown business folks are no way in agreement on whether the proposed site on Cliffe Avenue was the right place or not.As it happens, many of us who have spoken personally with some of them discovered that actually a number are on board and in support of the location as chosen. (Try checking out the On the Edge photo exhibit currently on display along Fifth in store windows and shops. It’s rather enlightening.)Still, it was the efforts of a couple of rather vocal and paranoid members of the group that seized the microphone to rant on about how absolutely horrible it would be if that the City stayed the course.God forbid that we would be providing safe haven and refuge so close to downtown for the most severely challenged in our community — who happen to be already highly visible out there in the downtown and, gad sakes, rubbing shoulders with us more respectable types.Actually, I heard word on the (Fifth) street that a most voracious and persistent gentlemen fighting the proposed site, also spent a fair of energy screaming “the sky is falling” when Billy D’s Pub was first proposed for Fifth a few years back. Now, are we to believe that the Fifth Street universe is once again to collapse? Good grief, gimme a break.That being said, I never did hear any of the opponents step up to the plate and actually answer the most relevant question concerning this issue: What exactly is going to change if a refuge is built on Cliffe Avenue?I mean, our citizens of the streets dealing with mental and/or major addiction issues are already here amongst us on downtown streets and — have been for sometime now. And if anything, the site over across from City Hall would effectively dissipate these folks more throughout the downtown core.So what exactly was the source of all this paranoia? Are we to believe hoards of drug addicts and other poor sods slipping over the edge are suddenly going to hitchhike or mooch some spare change in order to catch a bus to move to the Comox Valley?Totally absurd.Other, more progressive communities have already established their own shelters, so hardly likely. If anything, the current site is ideal and a heartfelt thanks is due to our local regional district for their compassion and understanding.But more in particular, Mayor Greg Phelps and Couns. Leonard and Hillian for staying the course and putting up such a courageous stand against the more reactionary elements within our community.Rick James,Sandwick

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