Future housing

Op-ed

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by Graeme Waymark

Last week, I replied to a David Shanahan feature column regarding housing. I expressed my gratitude and also attempted to constructively build on his findings. I focused on a well-understood, but not commonly used, planning tool of looking at significant issues from “both ends of the telescope”. That is to say: ensuring the essential diligence in planning, where it gauges certain potential, unexpected shifts in demands and needs of tomorrow, and in particular, where transactional expectations react suddenly to technological, scientific, or cultural changes in our community.

Today, issues of governance at any level are commonly reported as being altered significantly, in rapid time, by change. My observation is that governance shifts may well be appearing more quickly than at any time in our history.

Due to the obvious increasing rapidity of emerging changes influencing town planners today, I regard citizen contributions to be an integral and essential part of town planning as well as local governance.

The North Grenville Times is to many residents, an effective forum for promoting such dialogues. We have a Council that has demonstrated a commitment to listen to, not only its constituents, but also to its entire community. 

I realize that one can expect only so much from elected representatives; however, should they expect that citizens and the 4th Estate can be counted on to flag certain policy perceptions which may be lingering in their own collective political shadows? That is to say: not generally visible to many elected policy influencers.

My brother and I were schooled post-WWII, in Vancouver, B.C. My parents had emigrated from England. Several of my classes took place in discarded army shacks. They were unique structures with pot belly wood stoves providing the only climate control! The University of B.C. also re-used the same structures. The post war Baby Boom, revealed an almost unresolvable problem of not enough classrooms. That alternative accommodation was urgently presented as a possibility, out of necessity.

Was planning involved? My brother suggests today that perhaps modular concepts could become one possible planning aspect. Could we replicate the solution of 1950 albeit this time with planning tools using a myriad of solutions of proven value such as modular concepts?

My goal:

To build on the initial article of Dr. David Shanahan regarding housing for the present urgency, AND for tomorrow’s horizon which could become visible with the inputs of other equally concerned and experienced citizens.

To encourage others in our community who may have similar experiences to share their thoughts

To establish constructive dialogue between readers in this forum to assist residents and elected representatives to become as fully informed as possible with regard to planning alternatives. 

We lost the voice of Dr. Shanahan once, for a brief time last year. Hopefully his good intentions and enterprise will always be with us in some form.

Today, I am offering my humble contribution. Perhaps in ensuing weeks, one or more of the experienced, and erudite letter writers often seen herein, will offer more profound suggestions on how to enjoin, add to, and continue those enthusiastic polemics of Dr. Shanahan! Perhaps that will then encourage first-timers at letter writing to editors. And….we will all be better for it.

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