Our civic elections are approaching. Therefore, it seems to me that there are three issues for all of us to consider.
First, our aging population needs some support in trying to improve the availability of affordable housing, along the lines of Stanford Place in Parksville or a larger version of Hawthorne Place in our town. Specifically, I refer to the folks who have lived in our town for a number of years and do not want to move to another community because their unique health and housing needs are not being sufficiently met at this time.
Second, what are we going to do with the vacant land in the middle of town, namely the lands that border and include the old garage, TOSH, and the now-closed elementary school?
Perhaps we could consider the construction of a proper Civic Arts Centre that not only displays art but also includes large studio areas for all citizens, younger and senior, to actually learn how to do artworks, play music, do meaningful crafts, construct woodworking projects, etc. This facility could also include a modest performance hall as well. Think about what a creative, stimulating and inclusive environment this could be — it would make us proud.
Lastly, all of the above require a detailed study to be commissioned by the town to provide solid professional independent analysis of our current population and socio-economic projections for the next 10 to 20 years.
It’s time to listen to the careful research of experts and to respond. Many Canadians are finally retiring and, if we are ready, we can continue to be a very attractive new home for new arrivals of all ages. This means population growth, economic renewal, and a vibrant place for everyone to live.