The City of Abbotsford has apologized for spreading chicken manure over a popular gathering place for the homeless in an apparent bid to drive them out of the city.

"I am deeply sorry for our actions," city manager George Murray wrote in an email obtained by CBC News.

"As city manager, I take this situation very seriously and retain full responsibility for the manner in which we dealt with this incident."

The practice of using chicken manure to drive away the homeless came to light after local advocate James W. Breckenridge wrote a column titled "This Stinks" in the Abbotsford Today community newspaper.

According to Breckenridge, the city has waged an "ongoing war on the homeless," driving people "from spot to spot around Abbotsford like nuisance animals."

Meanwhile, the city has failed to provide a viable housing alternative to camping for the homeless, Breckenridge says.

The City of Surrey used a similar tactic in 2009 — spreading chicken manure outside a busy resource centre for the homeless — but was forced to remove it following outrage from community members.

In Abbotsford, Murray has vowed the city will remove the manure from the site and work with the community to resolve the issue.