In Development Debates, Consider the Insecurely Housed

Since the beginning of the debate about the future of Blockhouse Hill I have felt something was missing. It wasn’t until The Barnacle published Alison Strachan’s opinion piece (Vol II, No. III; Opinion: Lunenburg overlooks Indigenous consultation on Blockhouse Hill to detriment) that it became clear to me what it was that was missing.

From the beginning, the debate has focused on whether or not new housing should be built on the hill. But, if I am not mistaken, all the voices I have heard are those of the securely housed. Missing from the conversation, as far as I can tell, are the voices of the insecurely housed and the homeless. Why would people with housing be the ones to decide if the unhoused or precariously housed get access to housing?

This is a debate about the future of Lunenburg. Will Lunenburg expand or not? And here again we are hearing from people, myself included, who have less time in front of us than we do behind us. Why are we seniors so dominating this debate when really it’s about Lunenburg’s long term future?

As Ms. Strachan pointed out in her piece, we are overlooking Indigenous voices. I would add that we are also overlooking the voices of the young and precariously housed.

I am descended from settlers and was born at the tail end of the baby boom. I have, like so many boomers, enjoyed remarkable opportunity and good fortune in my lifetime. I have been able to afford secure housing and have had access to employment that paid a living wage. Now these basic building blocks of a community are becoming increasingly rare. 

I am uncomfortable with privileged boomers shaping the future of Lunenburg. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment – we haven’t exactly got a great track record. We are leaving our children and grandchildren a country in multiple crises: housing, health care, cost of living, the environment, all nearing the breaking point. We boomers and our parents are largely responsible for this mess. I think it is wrong that we, securely housed senior citizens, who are descendants of settlers are yet again making decisions for others.

Maybe Lunenburg should give the land back. Maybe we should only let people under the age of 50, or those insecurely housed, or Indigenous folks get to decide what happens here in the future. After all, they have the most at stake.


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