Langley supportive housing subject of duelling petitions

Residents for and against the project are planning to lobby local politicians.

Duelling petitions are gathering signatures for and against a new supportive housing centre in Langley’s Willowbrook.

The former Quality Inn in the 6400 block of 201 Street is being redeveloped into 49 supportive housing units, as well as the office for the Intensive Case Management team being established to help combat local homelessness.

The first Change.org petition, posted Oct. 20, is called “Stop the Supporitve Housing in the Centre of Local Businesses, Schools and Family Homes.

It had gathered more than 300 signatures as of mid-day Thursday.

It lists risks such as trafic, drug use and selling in nearby parking lots and school grounds, and proximity to three schools as reasons the project should be elsewhere.

“To conclude, we, as the local residents, strongly oppose to use this site as a supportive housing, and we are asking our leaders to find an alternative site fully supported by collaborative and rational study for this purpose,” said the petition, which is listed as created by “A group of concerned local residents.”

A counter-petition created by Cheryl Wiens on Oct. 22 has drawn more than 120 signatures.

“We are aware of groups who are against the Quality Inn project, and who have started their own petition,” Wiens wrote. “To prevent these people from being the loudest voice that BC Housing and the Township of Langley hear, we think it is important to start our own petition showing SUPPORT for this project.”

The project, if approved, is to be run by the local Stepping Stone Community Services Society. BC Housing is already renovating the building, with Stepping Stone providing programming and support for the residents.

The Intensive Case Management Team was announced earlier this year as a local unit to both find housing for the growing ranks of Langley’s homeless, and to aid those at risk of losing their current homes.

An Oct. 30 meeting is scheduled at the Langley Events Centre, with BC Housing, Fraser Health, and Stepping Stone on hand from 5 p.m. to give a presentation on the project and to speak to local residents.

This year’s homelessness count found more than 200 people sleeping on the streets and in shelters across the Langleys.

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