As recently as two months ago, a veteran Trail city councillor was not planning to seek re-election.
“In fact, I had recycled all of my signs. That’s how determined I was,” says Carol Dobie, who has spent the last eight years on council.
But when BC Housing came to council in August requesting a three-year extension on the permit that allows the downtown homeless shelter to operate, “I changed my mind in a hurry.”
“I thought this cannot continue to happen,” she says.
“We have a small group of people in a desperate situation who are not getting the proper support in many ways from the provincial government. But because we continue to approve having the homeless shelter, we are slowly eroding and destroying our downtown core. I just could not sit back and watch that happen any longer.”
Council ultimately decided last month to grant a one-year extension while BC Housing tries to find another location for the shelter. Dobie cast the lone vote against, saying she felt she had to support the businesses downtown, with whom she has been working with for the past few years.
She says she understands the daily issues those businesses face in retaining staff and customers, as well as the amount they have spent to keep operating. “No business should have to do this to keep their doors open,” she says. “This is just not fair.”
While BC Housing has indicated it is confident it can find another place for the shelter outside of downtown while it works on a longer-term supportive housing project, Dobie is skeptical.
“I will say openly they have disappointed us in the past many times, so let’s see if they can be true to their word this time.”
Dobie has suggested one location while BC Housing has also identified a second one. Neither has been publicly identified.
Like her father before her, Dobie was born and raised in Trail and has lived there nearly all of her life.
“I really feel like this city belongs to me,” she says. “This is my town and I do not want to see it continue to deteriorate in the manner it is.”
As for her election signs? She’s secured second-hand ones from retiring councillor Robert Cacchioni. “He said ‘Carol, take all my signs and get your name printed overtop.'”