I am deeply impressed by the number of people writing to our local media about a desire to see the issue of homes for the homeless advanced.
People from all sides of the political spectrum have written passionate letters demanding that something be done now to at least save the accommodation for otherwise homeless or under-housed residents staying in Maple Pool campground.
I certainly would not want to dampen such effusive goodwill.
However, on the issue of a zoning variance for Maple Pool, I believe that careful thought suggests that council is not as far off as passion has led some to believe.
Clearly a council elected on a pledge to solve the Maple Pool issue would not bring forward a lawsuit to force an end to the current occupancy without some other predominant consideration. That consideration is laid out clearly in council’s Sept. 19, 2011 press release pointing to the need for the Lins to complete an application to rezone the property and include a report of a qualified engineer that the property is safe for the proposed purpose.
Council cannot be expected to rezone a property without a completed application and surely we all agree that — given the flooding already experienced — the property needs to be professionally evaluated to be safe for the purposes proposed. Surely we wouldn’t ask council to rezone a property to a use that is unsafe or possibly even a threat to the life and well-being of those who use it.
It appears to me that either no engineer will vouch for the safety of the property, or — more likely — the Lins can’t afford to engage an engineering report. So therein lies the opportunity.
With all the community interest in this issue, it should be a simple matter of fundraising the money for a definitive engineering safety report. I would be delighted to hear from anyone else interested in helping to bring a community resolution to this important community issue.
I think it would make for great experience for people who often find themselves on opposing sides of an issue to — at least this once — work together for the benefit of our homeless and our community goodwill. Phone 250-338-0155 to get started!