Several things were readily apparent at a well-attended meeting on affordable housing in Lillooet held in the REC Centre gymnasium last Wednesday.
The first – attested to by the simple fact that more than 100 people gave up two hours in the middle of a weekday to attend – is that it’s an issue a lot of people care about.
That they care passionately was clear from the number and nature of the questions asked and the comments made.
Also abundantly clear, was that there is plenty of help available. CMHC’s Lance Jakubec and Christine Mielke and, particularly, B.C. Housing’s Danna Locke left no doubt that both funding and expertise are there aplenty if the need for it can be clearly demonstrated and if solutions can be identified and presented in a compelling way.
Also obvious was the fact that the word ‘partnership’ is going to be heard a lot in relation to this topic.
Mayor Peter Busse used the word in his opening remarks, every presenter on the stage used it repeatedly and many in the audience who stepped up to speak at the microphone used it as well.
But let’s back up a bit because there’s another word being repeated here. Okay, this one is just by me, a couple paragraphs above, but I’m going to write it one more time because I think the two words go together.
What I’m taking forever to get to is the word ‘if’. Because if need is going to be clearly demonstrated, and if solutions are going to be identified and compellingly presented, there’s one more word–‘co-operation’, of course–that’s going to have to show up early and often.
There was enough energy and commitment in that room last week to take on the challenges this issue presents. What’s needed now is for someone, or some group, to pull all that potential together and get everyone working together with a shared and well-articulated vision.
In my ever-humble opinion–fully aware that I’ve pretty much just landed here from another planet–if that happens, Locke will be proven right in her prediction.
Shovels will be in the ground.