The situation described in the April 28 article in Lakes District News titled “Lakeview Mall owner, manager tired of RCMP inaction” is concerning. But more concerning is the response from the mall owner. The complaints tinged in racism and classism speak to a systemic public health crisis and are not an Aboriginal problem or a band leader problem. It is not a problem that exists because the police refuse to enforce the law. This community problem requires a community response to a public health crisis.
Let’s stop treating poverty and homelessness as a criminal offense and start addressing the systems that perpetuate these social issues. Devoting precious resources to look at affordable housing, mental health supports, poverty reduction initiatives and addiction treatment facilities and supports makes more sense. Let’s tackle the root of the problem – hiring more security and having more police officers on the ground isn’t going to address the real problems.
The way to address the real, underlying issues in our community is by supporting the many organizations and volunteers who are working day in and day out to help improve the lives of all citizens.
The people and businesses of this community have always amazed me with their generosity and caring spirit. The outpouring of love and support during the 2018 wildfires was overwhelming. The number of volunteers and donations that go to support local organizations and events is staggering for such a small place. Last year, The Link received monetary donations from hundreds of individuals and businesses.
Let’s follow the example of these individuals and businesses and ensure that this generosity and caring spirit continues to go out to all members of our community – including people who are homeless, living in poverty or struggling with addictions.
Executive Director of The Link