While listening to CBC’s morning program approximately a week ago, I heard the manager of one of the Missions for Bibles thriftshops talk about the very high level of shoplifting — at times by the cartful, she maintained. That surprised me because I, too, frequent thriftshops in the downtown core and have always felt very much at ease walking and occasionally shopping in that area. At one point during that particular program even our mayor mentioned that she may ask for federal assistance to help solve the problem. I can’t recall if that assistance was meant to further policing or to look at the homeless situation. If the latter is the case, I wonder what kind of downtown Chilliwack has been envisaged over the years by City Hall.
I, once again, wonder why the former courthouse was not converted into low-cost housing? Why were the Empress Hotel and the Paramount theatre torn down, leaving pretty well nothing but emptiness, both literally and figuratively? Why was the former cultural center restored by yet another church and not by the City for just such housing?
Yes, there are many who are fearful, who would like to see a lot of the people from that side of the city gone. But to quote Ken Bramble, who wrote such an insightful letter to your paper: “What about finding … the root causes of these crimes. I suspect we would find poverty, lack of education, addiction, alienation, mental illness and helplessness heading the list.”