EDITORIAL: Don't get complacent
Complacency is a malignant tumour that is hard to excise. To avoid rampant cynicism that all too often dominates social discourse, here’s a to-do list for 2013 in the Tri-Cities.
• Ending homelessness: It’s with some relief that homelessness has been substantially reduced in the Tri-Cities, thanks to the intervention of the Hope for Freedom Society outreach workers and hundreds of volunteers. But there is still a core of about 25 to 45 people living rough and it would be easy to give up on these people with a shrug and assume that’s the best we can do. )In fact, it isn’t, and it’s about time Fraser Health started putting mental health workers out into the community, where they can connect with people and ensure they live with dignity. And while we’re at it, let’s get concrete poured for the permanent shelter planned for 3030 Gordon Ave. in Coquitlam.)
• Ending poverty: Why is it that the number of people using Share’s food bank continues to climb despite a slightly improved economy and increases in minimum wage? Are government programs supporting refugees adequate? Is child poverty being addressed in this community? Are kids going to school hungry? More research, co-operation and solutions are needed to make improvements on this issue.
• Talking pot: What will be the impact of changes to medical marijuana laws on sick consumers and city zoning and law enforcement? More information on these issues is needed in all three cities.
• Keeping it green: Let’s not be complacent about protecting the Coquitlam watershed and Port Moody Inlet. Changes to federal legislation (Bill C-38 passed this spring) have altered the landscape on creek and stream protection. More information is needed on how this will affect development and whether existing rules and regulations will need new approaches. What’s more, Coquitlam needs to do a better job in making sure developers are doing everything possible to build sustainably on steep hillsides.
• Ending bullying: Will the Tri-Cities combine efforts to ensure that another Amanda Todd incident doesn’t happen and is School District 43 adequately resourced to handle complaints? Do we really want to eradicate bullying or was that just a lot of talk?
These are just a few of many files that need conscious effort this coming year.