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EDITORIAL: Society, community issues need all groups at the table

EDITORIAL: It does take all groups at the table willing to discuss the issues felt by a community and coming up with solutions to help.

There are countless proverbs people use to help relate to specific situations.

Some may be nothing more than small talk and others can provide context and meaning to a situation that is near impossible to explain in less than 10 minutes or would take a 20-page essay to properly describe.

In the current economic crunch felt throughout much of the world, the saying it takes a village could best sum up what is an otherwise complex and difficult situation.

The pressures being faced by Bow Valley communities are not unique to the region.

They’re the same ones felt across the province, the country and the world.

Increasing interest rates and inflation have spared few in its wake, while supply chain issues are slowly improving but nowhere near as efficient as they were prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As people struggle with increasing costs, significant pressure has been placed on individuals and the public sector to fill the gap in helping residents get through troubling times.

But for society to function and prosper, there needs to be more help in the village.

In an area where housing is nearly non-existent, major companies who reap the benefit in the tourism rich area have had opportunities for years to provide shelter – at a cost – to employees but have chosen to hope the market fixes itself.

Every housing project in the last generation has also received pushback – ask any politician who has earned their stripes going through public hearings – that has led to delays with each potential change being fought tooth and nail.

It has led to an inundation of the market that has led to costs soaring, spiralling out of control and pushing otherwise long-term residents completely out of the community.

Housing is one piece of the puzzle – the largest one – but other options exist to help people do more than just survive. Employers can look to add taxable and non-taxable benefits to assist workers rather than simply providing a slight pay increase that barely keeps up with inflation.

Many groups in communities have stepped up and done so with little gain other than to help those people living paycheque to paycheque potentially not have to do so in the future. It’s often not to feel superior to others, but it’s simply the right thing to do.

Following the Second World War, there was a greater emphasis on both public and private sectors providing for people.

Health insurance, public education, unemployment insurance, pensions and subsidized initiatives for athletics and cultures were all prioritized for a generation coming out of the largest and most destructive war in human history.

After six years of war and four in the First World War along with one of the worst economic depressions in history in between, there was a greater sense to provide for one another. Part of that was to give a bit of something to prevent the spread of communism, but there was also an aspect to help people avoid the struggle of day-to-day circumstances.

Some may call the social welfare state a disaster, but the three decades after the recovery from war were the most economically vibrant in our history.

However, as we moved further away from a shared betterment of society being split by the public and private sectors, the needle turned as more pressure was placed on the public sector to fix every issue.

The mentality of seeing year-over-year growth led the way along with pinching pennies to make nickels, but it is simply not stable or realistic.

But there is realism in seeing members of a community prosper and succeed in their own way.

Regardless of the proverb of choice some may use, it does take all groups at the table willing to discuss the issues felt by a community and coming up with solutions to help.