Condo developer Sethi concerned about impact of new homeless shelter in Whalley

A planned new 40-bed emergency shelter for the homeless in Whalley has got land developer Charan Sethi concerned on the kind of impact such a move will have on his residential projects.

Sethi has built millions of dollars worth of condominiums in Whalley and is the president of the Tien Sher Group of Companies, which has built four four-storey condominium buildings containing 472 suites. The Quattro buildings are two blocks away from where the shelter will open (on 10708 & 136A St).

Sethi has been a driving force in the effort to make Whalley’s downtown a better place to live in. “Of course I’m concerned, if things go out of control,” he said. “We still have to deal with these people. They need to go somewhere.” But, Sethi added, proper measures need to be put in place to contain it so people aren’t running around with shopping carts.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said the shelter will open soon. “It’s not permanent,” she said. Watts said the shelter, which will provide homeless people with a place to stay in bad winter weather, will be re-evaluated in the spring. It’s expected to stay open until May. Watts said there was no requirement for public consultation on the opening of the shelter because it’s temporary and “Council is not changing any land use.”

Meantime, Sethi said he will sit on a social planning committee that will consider the impact the shelter has on the area. “I’ve been asked to be on the committee,” he said. “I want to make sure I get to say my piece.”