Sustainability Starts at Home

“Sustainable development” has been one of environmentalists’ favourite buzz words. If you do a Google search for the term you’ll get 360,000,000 hits.

Sustainable development implies “development” that is sustainable.

So, to have sustainable development you need some form of development.

To have a “sustainable community” (only 2,830,000 hits) on the other hand implies you need to be able to sustain the “community” you already have.

Which begs the question – “Who/what is our community comprised of?”

The current “who” is relatively easy to define simply by looking at last years Census. Among other things, it provides us with ethnicity, religion, sex (the old kind – male and female), family sizes, rentership vs ownership, and whether they receive employment income (6,340).

So, if we were going to work towards and plan for a sustainable community, we would first want to acknowledge the diversity we currently enjoy as a community, and then ensure it is somehow sustained….or, for lack of a better term “preserved and protected.”

Which is where we run smack dab into our community’s housing crisis. I say “OUR community’s housing crisis” because, while you may be living comfortably in your own home, there are literally hundreds of islanders who aren’t, because they can’t afford to buy. And, those people are people you depend upon on a daily basis for the lifestyle you enjoy.

In a few years, those hundreds will be joined by several thousand more employees who will be replacing our retiring teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, ferry workers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers…well I think you get the idea….all of the new employees/entrepreneurs/professionals will not be able to afford to buy here.

Meanwhile, as is happening at the end of every month now, more renters will be receiving their two months notice that the house they have been renting has been sold to someone new moving to the island….just like the thousands of “new” people who have moved here over the last 50 years.

All of which begs the question where will the “new,” new people live, given they can’t afford to buy, and the number of rental units continue to dwindle?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, raises the question – “Without sufficient workforce housing, how can you possibly have a sustainable community?”

The answer is simple – By having sustainable, affordable, employee owned, housing built… “sustainable development.”

I have previously provided a basic blueprint on how our community can achieve that –

If you are an employee, an employer, or a renter, you need to get to the polls and choose OUR future wisely.

So the only question immediately before you is this “Who will you vote for on October 15th that is prepared to actually make Salt Spring a truly, sustainable community?”

I’ve now had a chance to listen to all of the candidates and their platforms, and am placing my full support behind Don Marcotte and Jamie Harris to be my representatives to the Trust.

As one of the “rabble” I urge you to do the same.

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