EDITORIAL: Stuff happens

The health of the residents in Qualicum Park Village should be the first concern

It was a great community project, bringing together different levels of government, service clubs, companies and individuals.

So many people were selfless, focusing on the end game, which was providing safe, affordable housing at Qualicum Park Village.

Well, stuff happens. And the project may need the community’s help once again.

A story in today’s paper by reporter Lauren Collins details mould issues at Qualicum Park Village. Unlike the fundraising and grand opening, this is not a feel-good story.

These are nice residences. Considering the region’s near-zero vacancy rate, our large senior and physically/mentally challenged sector of the population and the high cost of renting here compared to wages, Qualicum Park Village is a welcome development.

‘Is’ a welcome development, not ‘was,’ and that is key.

Black mould cannot be dismissed as a nuisance. It can be a real health concern. At least one resident Collins’ spoke with for her story wants to move. Fair enough, that’s her choice.

However, the town, the society that manages the facility, other social service groups and individual residents are not dismissing the concerns. They have taken some steps and concede they need to do more.

Some might instantly look for blame, especially considering these units have been occupied for less than a year. That may or may not be helpful when it comes to finding resources to eradicate the problem, but it should not be the focus.

The health of the residents — short and long term — must be in the forefront. What that means in terms of the physical work that needs to be done, and the dollars that will cost, seems unknown at this point.

There is no indication this needs to be a multi-million-dollar do-over. But it will take some money, and we’re talking about affordable housing here, not some private-sector, high-end condo complex where units cost more than $500,000.

The community came together to build this great project. The community may need to come together again to make sure it’s a safe place. We are confident, provided people avoid the blame game, this can be fixed.

Because stuff happens.

— Editorial by John Harding