Reducing homelessness, increasing livability

Simplistic and populist politicians frequently fail to appreciate the long-term consequences of their platform and thrust.

Dropping a stone into a still pond send ripples in every direction. Everything is connected and related to some extent; those who have eyes to see will recognise this truth in human activities.

I understand the hardships being experienced by increasing numbers of people in the world due to the inflationary effects of higher fossil fuel costs. The ‘ripples’ from their excessive profits have impacted the price of food (largely grown on oil/gas dependent chemical fertilisers, pesticides and other inputs), oil-dependent transportation, and virtually everything else. Now interest rates are rapidly climbing, further impacting those who have limited incomes.

In the same way, cities negatively impact the cost of living (and far more) by being car-centric. The physical space to accommodate the automobile takes up valuable real estate that would otherwise be available for walking and cycling infrastructure, housing, parks, food-growing gardens, community centres, and local services (located near where people live). Having all that space paved over IS costly.

A case in point: the housing project at Brechin and Estevan in Nanaimo. Having to provide an underground parking stall to every apartment, including subsidized ones, doubles the cost of a one-bedroom suite, thus ‘driving’ the rental price of those units beyond what many people can afford. By accommodating cars, the cost of housing is greatly inflated.

It is an irony that cities often provide free on-street parking for vehicles, but don’t provide free housing for its people.

On the other hand, cities that emphasis community-building and resilience by providing such amenities as community spaces and active transportation options (walking, cycling, transit) that are viable options to driving, are also cities that enjoy better health outcomes, less pollution, lowered living expenses, and a greater sense of safety and security.

It often surprises people to learn that the average motor vehicle costs $10,000 per year (CAA stats), as most people forget to include depreciation, loan interest, and some other factors to the cost of driving. By shifting some transportation to walking, cycling & transit, many people can easily save a couple of thousand of dollars a year, more than making up for the higher initial taxes to build out the needed infrastructure. Once the transition is more complete, then the tax rate can actually drop, simply because a very car-centric city is an expensive city to operate.

Added bonuses to embracing more livable cities include: less homelessness, depression, anxiety, family breakups, violence, crime rates, fewer deaths from the tainted drug supply, and more.

We will always have cars. There is no “war against vehicles.” We simply must decide for ourselves what is more important: cars or people. Parking or housing. Traffic flow or bicycle paths. Convenience or health and safety. It really is this simple. Why can’t cities offer the freedom to choose how we want to move about?

For these reasons I am supporting the civic election candidates who embrace a livable Nanaimo, as found on this researched website:

Everything is connected to everything else. The decisions our leaders make will make or break life in the immediate and especially longer term, just as a stone thrown in a pond creates ripples in every direction.


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