EDITORIAL: Issue requires strong leaders

Tough decisions require strong leadership.

Nanaimo city council could be facing the toughest decision of its term with the plan to locate two 36-unit ‘wet housing’ projects in the hospital area.

It could prove to be a lasting legacy that will improve the quality of life for many residents of the city. But some hurdles must be overcome first.

The Hospital Area Neighbourhood Association and Quarterway Elementary School parents are vocal in their opposition to locating the project there, citing concerns over safety and deterioration of property values.

Opposition to controversial decisions can be positive – politicians at all levels should be challenged to back up their decisions and proposals with appropriate supporting facts and arguments.

Because of the association’s concerns, council already chose to split the project into two, reducing the number of beds and increasing the supervision in each proposed project.

It’s an example of residents holding council accountable. That should continue throughout the project, albeit with due compassion, respect and civility.

Examples like the Balmoral Hotel on Haliburton Street and Warmland House in Duncan show that this type of housing project can not only work, but also prove beneficial to the surrounding community.

It’s an opportunity for residents of the hospital area to show the same leadership as those communities.

Nanaimo is at the forefront of a new approach to treating alcoholism, drug addiction and related mental health issues. But it will take the entire community working toward that goal to make Nanaimo a truly inclusive and compassionate community.

Nanaimo News Bulletin

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