Response filed in lawsuit against sex offender living in Bradner

Defendants say they are operating residence in accordance with zoning bylaws for the area

This residence on Joanita Place is the subject of civil court action to have sex offender James Conway and another offender moved from the property.

The defendants in a civil suit launched by the city to have sex offender James Conway moved from his current residence say the home is being operated within the permitted zoning designation for the area.

The company WJS (W.J. Stelmaschuk and Associates) and caregiver Ed Holroyd are asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed. Their response was filed Nov. 25 in B.C. Supreme Court.

The City of Abbotsford filed a civil claim against the defendants, including property owners Brian Vos and Fiona Mitchell, early last month, saying that the home on Joanita Place located in the Bradner area is being operated in contravention of the “Agricultural One” zoning for the neighbourhood.

Living there are Conway with a history of sexual offences against children and another offender, along with their supervisor, Holroyd, an independent contractor working through WJS.

WJS is a service provider of Community Living BC (CLBC), which funds support services for adults with developmental disabilities and their families.

The court documents state that WJS leased the property from Vos, sublet the property to Holroyd, and signed a contract with CLBC.

Neighbours in the area have held rallies to protest Conway’s presence, started a Facebook page with their concerns, and pleaded with city officials to move him.

Mayor Henry Braun said in September that because the residence was operating as a “commercial use,” it was in contravention of zoning bylaws, which permit only agricultural and residential uses.

The city then notified the defendants of the city’s position and asked that the tenants be moved, but they are continuing to reside in the home while the legal matter is settled.

The defendants say their use of the home fits into the permitted “single dwelling unit” use under the zoning bylaw, which is defined as “one or more habitable rooms designed, occupied or intended for occupancy as an independent and spate residence in which cooking, sleeping and sanitary facilities are provided …”

Conway, 40, who has developmentally disabilities, moved into the home at the beginning of August.