LETTER: Nelson could be more affordable and compassionate

Reader John Alton: "In the last five years, I’d say rents have gone up way more than the costs of owning a home."

From reader John Alton...

I appreciate all the discussion going on in this paper about the un-affordability of housing in Nelson. I believe it’s important to hear all opinions and feelings. In fact, I would like to see a community forum on affordability.

In a recent edition of the Star, it was expressed in a letter that local people should get more support for housing and that the campground should give them first chance.

I do think its hard for people who have lived here for some time to see many new people moving in and by no fault of their own, drive up prices simply by creating a demand.

This is a difficult issue however as I’ve also seen many newer residents becoming hard working contributors. Case in point: many Nelson city councillors over the last 10 years.

Regarding the city campground being open this winter, I’d like to point out that the profit from the campground goes to the youth centre.

Also several of the people on the winter wait list for the campground have jobs now and are looking to buy a home and become part of the community and at least one person grew up here. It may be better for people to reside in town rather than commuting, which creates air pollution and CO2 emissions.

I can’t see a downside to keeping the campground open and it would make those people very happy I think.

Also I’d like to respond to another letter about the high costs to landlords in maintaining a home. In the last five years, I’d say rents have gone up way more than the costs of owning a home.

This is not to point fingers because this will not help anything, but I think its important to have the facts straight and please correct me if I’m wrong on this.

I think this un-affordability crunch is creating a “have and have-not” split where this town is becoming a place for people with money and those who work for them, and struggle financially.

Where there is no one to blame, I do believe if we wanted to we could do so much more to have Nelson be affordable or at least more compassionate. However, I think that would take many more people being actively engaged, including people of all financial positions.

What’s at stake is the quality of our community as an open-minded diverse, varied population that is user friendly to young people and families. I believe the solutions are the easy part but the difficulty is the motivation of more of our 10,000 citizens.

Otherwise we quietly gentrify and people may struggle and move away. I would like to see more letters.

John Alton

Nelson

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