Are we a welcoming, inclusive community?

Re: Support, opposition emerge, Oct. 13.

To the Editor,

Re: Support, opposition emerge, Oct. 13.

After reading some of the scary ads about supported housing on Uplands Drive, I was going to agree that this might not be the best location for housing meant to help people.

It’s awfully near Dover Bay Secondary School, with its history of tragic auto accidents involving some students and substance abuse.

And we have no idea about the criminal history of the people who already live here, because they aren’t even required to have a criminal background check before they move in.

It’s a pretty nice neighbourhood. We like to think we are the more successful, better educated, more fortunate members of our city.

So why can’t we demonstrate that success and education make us more welcoming?

I lived and worked in a small town during the de-institutionalization of people with developmental disabilities.

When they first moved into group homes and apartments, many neighbours were fearfully preparing for the worst. Before long, things turned around and the town’s residents began to take pride that our little community overcame its fears and made these people welcome as neighbours and co-workers.

The town took real pride in being a welcoming, inclusive place with room for all kinds of folks, including those who faced challenges the rest of us, more fortunate, may never know.

Which kind of community are we? One ruled by its fears, or one with courage and pride that the quality of our neighbourhoods can be extended to others, newcomers, in the good spirit of a warm human welcome?

Paul Glassen

Nanaimo