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City sustainability plan open house today: affordability top issue
The Integrated Community Sustainability Plan invites residents to an open house on Feb. 21 from 2–8:30 p.m. at the Revelstoke Community Centre (details at bottom).
Here are a few (of many) topics to learn about, discuss and provide your input on at the meeting:
Contributed by Cindy Pearce, Integrated Community Sustainability Plan consultant
Affordability is the top issue in Revelstoke: 32 per cent of households struggling
We often talk about the growing differences in the community with new, younger residents and retirees. One thing that draws us together is our concern about affordability.
Whether survey respondents were young or old, earning less than $25,000 or over $150,000, were a newcomer or lived here almost all of their lives, the high cost of living or ability to pay for city services, and affordable housing were at the top of their list of the most important issues that need attention – consistently identified as a top priority by a wide margin.
The 2012 Revelstoke Poverty Reduction Strategy provides hints why – food costs are 14% higher than the BC average, housing prices have stabilized somewhat but at 30% higher than before the resort development, rental housing prices are the highest in the region and are up 52 – 150% since 2006, taxes continue to rise incrementally and we’ve recently learned about gas prices differences in the local media.
Because of this, a family of four needs to earn more than $66,000 per year – before taxes, or a minimum of about $36/hour working full time to just make ends meet in Revelstoke. All this means 1,170 or 32% of households are either struggling to meet their needs or barely coping. Learn more about this issue at: http://www.revelstokesocialdevelopment.org/assets/files/Rev%20Poverty%20Strategy(2).pdf
Revelstoke youth also need attention
Supporting youth is another issue that draws us together. Activities for youth are the second or third highest ranked social issue by everyone.
The 2011 Revelstoke Youth Assessment & Action Plan describes the challenges for youth to find employment (‘come back when you have experience’ – ‘but how do I get experience?’) and meaningfully engage in and contribute to community life. It inventories community ‘assets’ that already provide services for youth then maps out goals, objectives and ideas for a community where all young people are able to meet the basic needs associated with a successful transition to adulthood. For more info to go: http://www.revelstokesocialdevelopment.org/assets/files/Youth%20Action%20Plan.pdf.
A Youth Initiative Committee and a contracted Youth Liaison located at the new high school are working to implement this plan. Hopefully this won’t continue to be a high priority issue needing attention in the next community survey.
What are we doing with these results?
The project team has used the survey results to understand community priorities for strengthening our sustainability. We’re reviewing a long list of actions from the over 30 city and community plans that have been completed since 2007. Based on input from community organizations and city committees and commissions, and an evaluation of options, we’ll prepare a short list of sustainability action priorities that will be available for public review between Feb. 21 and Mar. 7. We need to hear from the community about how to deal with affordability and the other high priority issues.
Sustainability Celebration at the Revelstoke Community Centre
For a community our size, Revelstoke is making many of the right choices to become more resilient and sustainable. Be there are clearly some issues to be worked on – like the high cost of living and affordable housing.
Join us on Feb. 21 at the community centre to celebrate our achievements and tell the project team the actions you think we should be taking to address your priorities for future community sustainability. Bring your ideas!
Remember – sustainability isn’t only about being green – it's about integrating economic, social and environment actions so Revelstoke continues to be a great place to live, work and play for generations.
2–8:30 p.m.: Open house – Drop by to learn more and ‘dot vote’ for your priorities – Join us before or after you visit the Farmers’ Market or soccer registration
4 p.m. & 7 p.m.: Presentation with the project team and others followed by discussion groups
Learn more about Integrated Community Sustainability at: http://www.cityofrevelstoke.com/index.aspx?NID=322