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Shifting demographics

 
master gardener
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So the demographics of our island is going to be changing in the next 10-20 years. With 70-80% of our population being over 65. It means a large portion of our island residents will not be here in the next few decades.

What challenges might we face?
Is there knowledge which needs to be preserved?

How can we maintain the community which is already here?


 
pollinator
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I heard, many years ago, that Lasqueti was the highest educated postal code in Canada. Is that still true (if it ever was)?
The community decision to not be on the 'provincial' electricity grid is another huge factor. Do you still see support for that?
 
jordan barton
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Chris Sturgeon wrote:I heard, many years ago, that Lasqueti was the highest educated postal code in Canada. Is that still true (if it ever was)?
The community decision to not be on the 'provincial' electricity grid is another huge factor. Do you still see support for that?



It might still be true.


And yes i still see support for being off-grid. It seems to be very ingrained in the marrow of the island.
 
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There's a lot to be concerned about here. As people age, the need for health care increases, but the Islands often are lucky to have a full-time nurse let alone more. The land is often pricey, so can young people afford to buy even if properties come up for sale? If the land is inherited, will it be by people who feel the same sort of connection to the values the current community has?

I have never been to Lasqueti, but I know that Saltspring Isl is similarly known for its education and artistic community and that most young people who work on the Island commute daily by ferry! Property owners can get as much if not more money renting a suite or extra house for 2-3 summer months than they can for a year's lease. And yet the need to be "Island self-sufficient" is as critical as any isolated community, as ferries can break down and if there's ever a big earthquake, all bets are off!

Personally, concerns like this are further impacted by society norms that dislike talking about death, even though it is inevitable. If we won't, can't, don't, discuss it, how can we ensure that people we depend on have made plans that we can work with or work around if necessary.

So far as preserving the knowledge, I suspect it will come down to inspired community members. Can you convince a retiree with time on their hands to take on interviewing long-term residents about their experiences on the Island? Including question about what they value? Sooner, rather than later?
 
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I'm not quite so smart, so I will stay here between Qualicum Beach & Qualicum Bay...  :)

But a big hello to you two "neighbours"
 
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Totally different setting here (I am in a neighbourhood of Montreal), but our community has been living through that transition.

My neighbourhood was developed right after WW2, so a lot of the original owners have died or gone in assisted living communities in the last decades. In their wake came young professionals eager to build a family (myself included), either in single-unit houses (there are very few of those in Montreal), in the ground floor of triplexes and five-plexes (often joining two small units into one), or in newly built condos. That, of course, brought gentrification, price increases, rent increases, and some social tension. There's been also a lot of renovation going on  - one summer, on my street alone, about a third of the wartime houses were having some foundation work done. It's not uncommon to have buildings in such a state of disrepair that they have to be demolished and sold just for the price of the terrain. This has been the sake of many wartime houses where the owners were not in a position to take care of structural problems over time (roof leaks, etc.).

On the positive side, it made our community very vibrant, with lots of children, community organizations, a farmer's market and several CSAs. Main street, which had decayed into a collection of pawn shops and closed down fronts over the years is now very much alive, with a mixture of old standbys which got new customers and new trendy places. And our current municipal administration is investing a lot in active transportation (adding bike lanes and pedestrian zones) and gardening (supporting the greening of back alleys, supporting urban gardening initiatives, giving away trees...). Public schools are good and fairly mixed in terms of economical and cultural backgrounds.

It's not perfect, but I think we've survived the transition better than many other neighbourhoods.
 
Jay Angler
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John Dorst wrote:I'm not quite so smart, so I will stay here between Qualicum Beach & Qualicum Bay...  :)

But a big hello to you two "neighbours"

Aha! you're on "The Big Island"! Welcome to permies!

Smarts will only get us out of the current situation if people apply them. One "city", Sidney by the Sea, has the, or close to the, highest per-capita density of seniors in all of Canada. Seven GP's retired in the last 2 years and only 2 new ones arrived. Yet the Municipal Council keeps approving 5 story strata apartments with shops on the ground floor, providing more housing for more people, but saying, "we can't do anything about the doctor situation - that's a Provincial responsibility." I see a different side - Doctor's are seen as being well-paid, but the reality is that if an area needs to attract young new doctors, they often have large debt loads and housing in the Sidney area is pricey. I can easily think of 5-6 new ways that Sidney Council could use their influence to engage in community problem solving and outside the box thinking to work on this problem, but the only real leadership I've seen is from the near-retirement aged medical administrator of the nearby, small hospital. (He's worried that GP's will be replaced by the hospital's emergency department - so he does have a legitimate stake in this issue!)

We need to re-build the sense of community supportive interactions and of taking some personal responsibility for bigger problems, but that takes both leadership and communication skills. Communications skills are something that people think are picked up by osmosis, but sometimes poor patterns come along for the ride, and many people may not know how much more effective they could be at supporting community if they studied what makes communication "supportive" and how big a part of communications is "active listening'!
 
pioneer
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Location: South East Kansas
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jordan barton wrote:
What challenges might we face?
Is there knowledge which needs to be preserved?

How can we maintain the community which is already here?



My city is dealing with a similar situation.

Challenges:

Dealing with yard work and clear up after storms.
Groups and clubs may close down to due lack of members.
Business may close.

Knowledge which needs to be preserved:

Local history and stories from people of the area.
Any crafts and arts of the island that are unique.

Maintain the community:

Family in my view would be important. Keeping the connection to the place and people may help the economy going. Does the community have any festivals and events?
 
jordan barton
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T Blankinship wrote:
My city is dealing with a similar situation.

Challenges:

Dealing with yard work and clear up after storms.
Groups and clubs may close down to due lack of members.
Business may close.

Knowledge which needs to be preserved:

Local history and stories from people of the area.
Any crafts and arts of the island that are unique.

Maintain the community:

Family in my view would be important. Keeping the connection to the place and people may help the economy going. Does the community have any festivals and events?



Thank you for your response  T

I definitely see groups/committees shutting down due to lack of members. Our first responders are at an all time low as is.

Yep we have many festivals and events. Almost to many for an introvert like me. Most of the events/festivals this year are shut down due to covid 19. It is really upsetting.
We seem to have an archive being set up to give the place some history and such.
One of the issues the island faces is that banks are not willing to give loans(due to insurance reasons). So you most likely need to get money from somewhere. So this leads to a big hurdle for folks who want to move here without having lots of money to outright pay for land.
 
T Blankinship
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jordan barton wrote:
One of the issues the island faces is that banks are not willing to give loans(due to insurance reasons). So you most likely need to get money from somewhere. So this leads to a big hurdle for folks who want to move here without having lots of money to outright pay for land.



I was looking at https://lasqueti.ca/ to find more information about the island. Great pictures of nature! I did not see or find anything related to a chamber of commerce. In short achamber of commerce helps business start out and promotes business. A group like this could help with loans and build businesses on the island.
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