Is Shanty-Town our new normal?

Many of us have watched with a growing sense of uneasiness and disbelief

Many of us have watched with a growing sense of uneasiness and disbelief as the tent city on the courthouse lawn in Victoria has taken on an aura of permanence. Many have wondered: Is this Canada in the 21st Century?

Apparently so.

There’s another word for the haphazard collection of wood, plastic, cardboard and fabric that has taken root in the heart of one of Canada’s major cities and B.C.’s capital: it’s a shanty-town.

The term shanty-town has been more usually associated with ‘third-world’ countries, places where the standard of living is so low people can’t afford a proper roof over their heads, running water, enough food to meet their nutritional needs, help with health and mental issues.

That a shanty-town has sprung up amidst some of the most affluent real estate in Canada, in a city consistently judged one of the most beautiful in the world, is a puzzle. What’s going on? What can be done to dismantle the pallet sidewalks and reclaim the public space for all citizens?

The answer is simple: provide a modicum of shelter, food, clothing and services for the people who find themselves squatting on the court-house lawn, and most of them will soon be gone.

Don’t offer them temporary housing in a cynical ruse to disperse them, then send them out into the street again a few months later; these are street people – they’ll see through that kind of gambit in an instant.

And don’t ask municipal levels of government to cope with the issues of poverty and homelessness – unless you’re going to give them adequate, sustained funding to provide the facilities, programs and services homeless people need.

And don’t blame the homeless themselves. Shanty-towns don’t just happen. They spring up when we as a society create the conditions that make a jumbled collection of thrown together habitations the best a group of our citizens can do for themselves, and if we bulldoze one tent city, another will spring up to take its place until we go to the root of the problem and offer real solutions.

 

Just Posted

Four weather extremes in the Chemainus area in just six months a cause for concern

Global warming contributing to the full gamut of conditions

Column: Snow reveals the character of a community

For every internet complainer there were two more willing to help a neighbour

Car fire destroys vehicle in Chemainus

Traffic rerouted for a short time at the Henry Road roundabout

Ladysmith walks to help others on the Coldest Night of the Year

Community asked to step up for the local hungry and homeless

Unplowed Roads parody song destined to be a classic

Move over Weird Al, Island elementary students on the same level

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

Most Read