Abbotsford, BC – (With Files from Abby News) Convicted sex offender James Conway has been told he needs to find a new place to live, after city legal staff concluded that his current residence is being used outside of its permitted zoning designation.
Mayor Henry Braun dropped by a rally held Sunday morning on Joanita Place – in the Bradner area of north Abbotsford – to inform concerned citizens that the city will pursue the matter legally if Conway and the home’s other resident do not leave.
Braun said current zoning for the property permits only agricultural and residential uses.
It is the opinion of city staff that using the property to house two convicted offenders and a supervisor places it in a commercial-use category, which means it is operating in contravention of zoning bylaws, he said.
He said city staff looked into the matter and came to this conclusion on Friday afternoon. The property owner, who leases the site; Correctional Service Canada; and BC Corrections have all been notified, Braun said.
Braun said he was disappointed that the city hadn’t been notified ahead of time that Conway would be living in Abbotsford.
Neighbours previously expressed concerns that although Conway wears an electronic bracelet that sets off an alarm if he leaves the home, it will take police at least 20 minutes to get to the rural neighbourhood.
Conway, 40, has a long criminal history, including three convictions for sexual offences against children, as well as sexual interference of a person under 16, sexual assault and arson.
He has also breached the conditions of his release at least twice.
Conway settled in Surrey after being released from prison in February of this year but was back in jail 10 days later when he allegedly breached his conditions.
He was again released from custody in April and resided in Delta before moving to Abbotsford. The Abbotsford Police Department released a public notice on Aug. 1 that Conway was moving to the community, although they didn’t specify where.
But residents of Joanita Place quickly found out that Conway as libing in the ‘hood.