EDITORIAL: Resident takes leadership role

North-end neighbour delves into social housing issue on his own time.

Nanaimo resident and developer Jim Routledge may be on to something when he says it might be worthwhile to hire a bus to take people concerned about a proposed supportive housing project in the north end – or others around Nanaimo – to check out similar facilities in Victoria.

Routledge, who is invested in several properties near the Uplands Drive supportive housing location, said he had some reservations about the low-barrier housing proposal before making three trips to similar Victoria facilities and one to Nanaimo’s Balmoral site.

Upon completion of his research, Routledge deduced the province’s Housing First strategy will work and said he hopes others will form their opinion on the issue after performing similar due diligence instead of accepting rumour and misinformation as fact.

It is this kind of leadership and thoroughness that will, in the end, lead to better decisions and understanding of the various issues facing Nanaimo for all residents, both now and in the future.

While Routledge’s experience armed him with facts and a better understanding leading him to accept city council’s decision, it doesn’t necessarily mean that whomever visits low-barrier sites should return in favour of supportive housing.

But it does raise the bar in the ongoing community debate.

By being upfront, well-researched and accountable in his public statement that he approves of low-barrier housing at 6025 Uplands Dr., Routledge has set an excellent example for everyone who hopes to voice an opinion, or has already done so, on the highly controversial supportive housing issue.

Here’s hoping others follow his lead.