Rights of all residents need to be respected

Re: Are we a welcoming, inclusive community? Letters, Oct. 18.

To the Editor,

Re: Are we a welcoming, inclusive community? Letters, Oct. 18.

We should not pursue the worthy cause of ending homelessness at the expense of seniors, children and the democratic process.

The rights of individuals that will be impacted by a low-barrier facility in their community also need to be respected. Some of these facilities are a problem and people are legitimately concerned.

Some facts:

The city’s survey says that 96 per cent of homeless are addicted and 25 per cent engage in criminal activities. So the odds are the facility will house a large proportion of addicts.

The definition of wet house is clear, it allows clients to continue their addictions in their apartments with or without treatment.

The Uplands site was selected in an in-camera council meeting, announced by the province without any public input or consultation. B.C. has open meeting laws which intend that all major decisions affecting the community are made at open meetings. The city’s Homelessness Action Plan recommends public meetings before any site is selected for supportive housing.

One can support supportive housing without supporting the Uplands site.

It’s not a matter of whether it’s good enough for the community, it’s a matter of giving the public a say in selecting a suitable location.

I believe there are a lot of smart people in Nanaimo and tapping into that resource would achieve results which would not polarize the community. There is no social mandate that says low-barrier housing must be located next to seniors and schools.

The selection of the Uplands site was likely made in haste in order to satisfy scheduling requirements with the provincial government.

Surely the province would not have so little compassion as to withdraw the funding for this worthy project just because the community wants a say in the location.

Fred Kardel

Nanaimo

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