Recently, I attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at Ward Street Place. The construction of ten new single room occupancy units of affordable housing was being celebrated. As I listened to the words of praise for the project spoken by representatives of the federal and provincial levels of government, two things became very clear to me.
The first was that the money that had been contributed by the two levels of government was not a gift from some rich uncle but money collected in taxes from each one of us.
It was in all likelihood money collected from our community returning to our community. The real thanks for the funds that made this project possible should go to each and every one of us who pays taxes.
The second thing that became very clear to me was that there is always more to see than what meets the eye. In this case the project to move Stepping Stones out of the basement of Ward Street Place and create new affordable housing units has taken seven years.
Many hundreds of people have contributed time, effort, money, skill and prayers to make this project possible. Participants in the Coldest Night of the Year walk, volunteer board members, corporate sponsors, the staff of Nelson CARES and every one of us who lives in this community have made a difference.
Creating much-needed affordable housing is a demonstration of a caring community. This same kind of community joining happens when we experience an extreme weather event such as a windstorm or wildfire or water shortage.
It is no secret that the biggest issue we face is global warming and climate change. There are many things that we can do to make a difference and our community is working together to explore ways we can be the change. Our city has been very successful in reducing our energy consumption.
We are working to make our community more accessible for walking and biking. We are developing opportunities for people to participate in a solar power project and exploring the advantages of having a central heating plant that is not dependent on fossil fuels.
We are committed to making our community safe from wildfires and repairing our infrastructure to reduce flooding. We are having conversations to determine the best way to support local food production. We have purchasing policies in place which direct staff to purchase products locally.
Together we can make a difference. We must continue to find ways to burn less carbonbased fuel and provide incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy options.
People power can make a difference: shop locally and when possible buy locally-made goods and locally-grown food. Support local transportation options, walk, ride a bike, take a bus or find a way to car share. Everything we do makes a difference.
Oh, and did I mention one way you can make a big difference is to exercise your right to vote? Vote wisely. We need to elect people willing to make decisions that support our environment.
We must insist that clean air, clean water, and a sustainable balanced relationship with the earth is more important than profits or short-term luxuries. Most of us know this is true and want to shift to a more harmonious relationship with each other and our environment. Armed with positive intention each one of us has the potential to make conscious positive decisions which can lead to a more balanced and sustainable future.
Nelson city councillor Michael Dailly shares this space weekly with his council colleagues.