OUR VIEW: Keep the dialogue going

Homelessness has become a divisive issue with hard liners on both sides

The street scene in Campbell River’s downtown is playing on people’s nerves because there doesn’t seem to be a solution in sight. Certainly not one that can appease the differing views at play in the community.

It has become a divisive issue with hard liners on both sides intolerant of the beliefs of the other.

There is no doubt, however, that people suffering from homelessness deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion and many in our community want to see them treated that way. On the other hand, people in this community have a right to be able to move freely and not have to walk in fear of attack or harassment nor negotiate needles, mess and people camping out in various covered areas.

Millions of dollars are being spent on this issue but we haven’t seen enough change, yet. Where does a solution lie? It’s a tough question that is being asked in many communities, not just ours.

Every time an incident occurs or an action is taken, the dialogue is ratcheted up with incrimination. This is not where we’re going to find a solution.

As usual, the solution will lie in give-and-take, compromise and understanding. By bringing people together. Last year there was an attempt to bring sides together by the city and it was a good first step. But it wasn’t enough. We need some follow up. Surely, the discussion can continue until we hammer out some real world solutions?

City Council is not the body that has the authority to enact change – it’s the province’s jurisdiction – but is being pressured by the public to fix the situation. Council can lead the way by providing solutions, being open to dialogue from all sides and maintaining a calm presence and by continuing some sort of inclusive dialogue.

Campbell RiverHomelessness