NEWS

Abbotsford business offers to clean up city's manure mess

06/07/2013 05:47 EDT | Updated 08/07/2013 05:12 EDT
The owner of an Abbotsford business says he wants to help bring dignity back to homeless people who were chased from a park after the city dumped chicken manure there.

Travis Klassen, owner of Valley Pulp & Sawdust Carriers, is offering to donate a truckload of mulch to spread at the site known as 'The Happy Tree.'

"We believe that we're in business for more than making money. We didn't need to be part of that knee-jerk reaction, we just wanted to be a part of the solution," Klassen said in an interview with Rick Cluff on CBC Radio One's The Early Edition.

"Something that could restore some dignity back to the people that stay in that park whose lives have been disrupted by an inconsiderate action by the city."

- Read more: Manure dump at homeless camp embarrasses B.C. mayor

Klassen said the mulch he is offering would get rid of the odour and beautify the area. He insisted that the donation is not letting the city off the hook for its decision to spread chicken manure in the first place.

"In the end, it's the taxpayers that are going to pay and we just thought, 'we're taxpayers too'," he said.

"Let's show some love and extend grace, even to the city officials."

Klassen said the mulch is ready to go. He is waiting for word from the city on how to proceed.

The City of Abbotsford began cleanup of the site on Wednesday after homeless advocate James Breckenridge brought attention to the manure that had been dumped.

Mayor Bruce Banman visited the site on Thursday and apologized for the incident.

"We are deeply apologetic for any hurt this may have caused. I personally feel incredibly bad," he said.

"I was shocked, and embarrassed, like many of us were."

Abbotsford city manager George Murray has taken personal responsibility for the manure dump.

The Early Edition is on the air every weekday morning between 5:30 a.m. and 8:37 a.m. on CBC Radio One. 88.1 FM / 690 AM in Vancouver.

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