A homeless camp in Chilliwack.

Chilliwack mayor not sending homeless here; Chamber of Commerce president sends warning letter

Read Stephen Yeung's letter to Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz about her comments to a reporter.

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz refutes accusations that she plans to buy tickets to send homeless people to Hope.

“Not in a million years,” said Gaetz. “I know that people have arrived from other communities in ours, and it has been a heavy burden to bear. I would not wish that on anyone else.”

The issue started when Stephen Yeung posted on Facebook an image of Sept. 27 Province newspaper, which quoted Gaetz saying that “people are demanding we immediately give everyone a ticket to Hope.” The same article went into the Vancouver Sun.

Yeung is the Hope and District Chamber of Commerce’s president and owner of McDonald’s.

On the post, Yeung did not suggest that Gaetz will buy tickets, but wrote that “bus tickets to Hope for the homeless people in Chilliwack is demanded by the citizens of Chilliwack.”

Gaetz clarified to The Standard that she was responding to a question from the reporter about what people are saying.

“My comment was really that there are numerous people, very many people, who are totally frustrated with the situation and perhaps want to deal with it in an easy way,” said Gaetz.

“Yes, some of them are saying put them on a bus to Hope,” added Gaetz. “Of course that’s not a solution that we would ever consider.”

Gaetz said she spoke to housing minister Rich Coleman and expressed her concerns that the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) needs support, as does Hope. Gaetz is also the chair of the FVRD.

When Gaetz spoke to The Standard on Sept. 28, she said she has not received any angry letters. Though, she will soon get one from Yeung.

As part of Yeung’s Facebook post, he noted that if he got over 100 “angry” Facebook reactions, he will reach out to Gaetz.

“We have 100 names already,” said Yeung. “We’re going to send it.

“It’s just a message from the people in Hope that we heard those comments and we do not want this to happen. Please be aware.”

The Standard informed Yeung that Gaetz declared that she has no intention to buy tickets, but Yeung said he feels concerned that Gaetz is backtracking after the vociferous reaction.

“It’s not that we want her to resign or anything,” said Yeung. “It’s a public opinion basically telling Mayor Gaetz that we heard this comment from you, which you didn’t state you will not do it, but now since there are some concerns from the people in Hope … we heard that she put additional comments to her original comment that she’s not going to do it.”

Mayor Wilfried Vicktor also added to the criticism of Gaetz.

“I think her comments were probably not that well thought out, unfortunately. She was repeating a suggestion she heard from someone,” said Vicktor. “Obviously, I was unimpressed with that comment because as mayors we don’t have to repeat every silly suggestion that we hear.”

Vicktor said he talked to Mayor Gaetz at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention but he characterized that conversation as “inappropriate.”

Vicktor would not go on the record about the details.

“I will deal with this issue at the October regional district meeting, and it will maybe be a little bit of an awkward meeting, I guess [that] would be the sugarcoated version of what’s going to be happening,” he said.

Yeung’s open letter

Dear Mayor Sharon Gaetz,

I am attaching visual responses from 120 residents of Hope in response to your recent statement about citizens in Chilliwack asking you to send the homeless/tent people to Hope.

All of us in Hope find this suggestion — no matter where or with whom it originated — inappropriate and irresponsible.

The fact that you publicly stated this is beyond our comprehension.

We believe that each community with any issues should deal with their own problems and not even consider passing it on to another nearby community.

Repeating this suggestion from citizens in Chilliwack, in particular to a reporter, serves to put the idea in people’s heads and in our collective opinion and plants seeds for the idea to become policy or reality.

Hope already deals with a disproportionate number of homeless people, which is a challenge, considering the resources of a small town like ours.

We would appreciate it if you would please refrain from this kind of public statement with regard to suggested solutions to your community’s problem.

Stephen Yeung

A concerned citizen from Hope

Just Posted

Highway 3 vehicle incident causing delays

Drive BC reporting the incident is 20 kilometres west of Manning Park

Majority of residents who responded to survey support marijuana sales in Hope

647 responded to a District of Hope survey on the sale and use of recreational pot

Some Hope candidates say it’s high time to lift pot sales prohibition

Mayoral and council candidates weigh in on repealing bylaw amendment 1428

Hope’s mayoral candidates talk vision, infrastructure and more at all candidates meeting

Hope’s three mayoral hopefuls speak their mind ahead of Oct. 20 election

Man accused of killing Belgian tourist along Highway 1 appears in court

Sean McKenzie, 27, made second court appearance since his arrest in connection with the murder of Amelie Sakkalis

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

3 in serious condition after altercation on Granville strip: police

Patrol officers came upon the fight just after 3 a.m. on Granville Street near Helmcken Street

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Pedestrian rushed to Lower Mainland hospital after being hit by car

Friday night crash is latest in rash of collisions involving pedestrians in Surrey

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

Most Read