I have been following the lack of affordable housing debate in Nelson with mixed feelings. I agree with John Alton’s analysis in October 5 edition of the Star, that the housing crunch in Nelson has created a “have and have-not” split in our community.
In a wealthy country such as ours, the basic necessities of life — food, clothing and shelter — should be accessible to all. However, the prevailing attitude in Nelson appears to be that locals should be given first preference for housing over newcomers which creates an “us versus them” situation.
This kind of mean-spirited thinking only serves to divide our community. Do we want to become a closed society that does not welcome newcomers? This can lead only to stagnation rather than the vibrancy for which Nelson is known.
The problem in Nelson is not only one of unaffordable housing. There has to be political will at all levels of government to invest in affordable housing. We need to treat housing as a right not just as a commodity.