Letter writer can’t understand why the city can’t understand that every neighbourhood is somewhat different and may have quite different needs.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: City needs to recognize not all neighbourhoods organize the same way

Every neighbourhood is somewhat different and may have quite different needs, says letter writer

To the editor,

Re: Neighbourhood voices are worth listening to, Letters, Nov. 17.

I agree with a previous letter about the importance of neighbourhood associations as a vehicle of communication to the people who run the city and plan for changes.

As a participant in several meetings with city representatives about the nature of neighbourhood associations, there seems to be an ongoing belief on the part of the city that all neighbourhood associations should meet their prescribed standards of becoming a non-profit society in order to qualify to be listened to and to be eligible to be informed, or to qualify for any financial help with our neighbourhood needs.

I can’t understand why they can’t understand that every neighbourhood is somewhat different and may have quite different needs. A neighbourhood with a lot of young children may be more concerned with parks and traffic calming, for example. Concerns about the safety of children will likely generate more interested participants than a neighbourhood that comprises mostly senior citizens who have the amenities they need. A small, established neighbourhood might have more difficulty finding enough people to be interested in forming a non-profit than an active, growing community with urgent concerns.

Furthermore, just because a large neighbourhood might be able to form such a group, it does not necessarily represent the interests of the whole neighbourhood. They might just be a vocal special interest group within the neighbourhood.

I think the city needs to look at its assumptions and let the neighbourhoods decide how to represent themselves. Furthermore if one neighbourhood has two groups that wish to contribute to the planning, why not listen to both and pay attention to what the issues are rather than being overly concerned about whether or not the group has achieved non-profit status? What is important is the communication itself and the issues presented, not the status of the group.

Marilyn Hand, Nanaimo

RELATED: City of Nanaimo developing policy for working relationships with neighbourhood associations

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Letter to the Editor