Chamberlaining Needs to Stop

Neville Chamberlain was a British Prime Minister, best known for his foreign policy of appeasement, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement on 30 September 1938.

As we all know, the results of that agreement didn’t turn out very well in the end.

“Appeasement” seldom, if ever, works in politics if you actually want to get anything accomplished.

If you want to please everyone you will please no one, simply because the task is impossible.

People are opinionated, and I, for one, am certainly no exception.

My opinion on the housing crisis, which I have been writing about for over 20 years now, really hasn’t changed.

The solutions I proposed in 2002-2005 are the same I would propose today – an employee, home ownership model ala Whistler’s solution. I am not a proponent of rental units unless there is no choice…as is the case at the moment.

The reason I am opposed to rentals long term is that they create a perpetual servant class of serfs…(or is that just a serfant class?) If you’re renting you’re paying someone else’s mortgage.

Getting back to “appeasement,” for years now a relatively small group of environmentalists on the island have been gettting appeased at every step of the way. Their familiar anti-everything Driftwood articles spawn ad nauseum.

They complain about water shortages as if the entire island had water problems, or, as if it never rains somewhere on the island, while in the next sentence say they are big supporters of rainwater catchment.

They complain in the Winter about trees being cut down and used for lumber or firewood, while sitting around their woodstove in the comfort of their wood frame home. Then they complain in the Summer that the same trees they don’t want cut down pose a significant wildfire risk, but don’t themselves practively follow Fire Smart guidelines by thinning their piece of heaven.

They complain that everyone should drive an electric car or ride a bike, blythely ignoring the environmental damage done in the mining of the raw materials for the car (in someone else’s “backyard”), and the fact they don’t ride their bikes to the grocery store in the middle of Winter…or Fall…or Spring….or whenever its raining…or whenever they have to go to Windsor Plywood.

They complain about over development when there is virtually no development.

They complain when the vacant lot next door, which they have walked their dog on for years, is finally built on.

They complain about more people coming to the island, when the vast majority of them moved here in the last 30 years. The population when I was growing up here was about 2,000. They don’t recognize they are part of their own “problem.”

You don’t see a single one of them carefully demolish their homes, covenant their property for no develpment, restore the environment, hand over their title deed to one of many First Nations, and then leave the island.

They say “Don’t change Salt Spring, let Salt Spring change you.” but ignore the fact they are responsible for the majority of the change that has occurred on the island. If only we had adopted that slogan back in 1973 pre-Islands Trust…

It is now time for their appeasement to stop. It doesn’t mean the complainers will simply go quietly into the night. On the contrary they will become fully enraged when they realize that their political pressure tactics have ceased to function as planned.

However, it doesn’t mean the changes necessary to create employee housing on the island will be environmentally destructive. Energy efficient houses are now standard. Clustering of development is energy efficient. Apartment buildings are energy efficient.

What is not efficient is the continual barrage of negativity, without any alternative proposed solutions coming from the “Positively No” crowd, which is slowly transforming into “Absolutely No.”

It is time for the “Positively Yes” crowd to emerge with the creative solutions. Our employees and employers need to stand up and be counted.

This Saturday, October 15th, vote wisely. Vote for real change. Vote for those who are prepared to enable a sustainable employee housing solution.

I am voting for Don Marcotte and Jamie Harris for Trust, and Kylie Coates for CRD Director. I would urge anyone who cares for this community’s future to do the same.

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