June 24th, 2024

Not all River Ridge residents opposed to LHA plan

By Lethbridge Herald on March 17, 2023.


Not everyone in River Ridge is against expanding suites at the Castle Apartments.

 To read the Herald’s March 2 article about the Lethbridge Housing Authority’s proposal to add additional suites at Castle apartments, most readers would assume that there is universal disapproval of this expansion on the part of River Ridge residents. 

We are disappointed that the reporter evidently did not seek out opposing opinions. We agree with the obvious: there is a huge problem in the downtown core with vagrants, filth, and safety issues, precluding our enjoyment of the downtown area. Yes, seniors have the need and the right to feel safe, as does everyone else. 

The City needs to be proactive in getting rid of its derelict population, easier said than done, and a problem in most Canadian inner cities. Many residents of River Ridge walk the area to shop or exercise. 

According to the article some appear to complain that they have “noticed increased levels of dysfunction in the downtown core.” We do not disagree with this complaint; however, we challenge the people against the proposal to provide any example of harassment of any River Ridge residents or others that were perpetrated by the residents of Castle apartments. 

We suggest that a check with the LPS website will show that there have been very few, if any, issues in that immediate area in this regard. Inner city derelicts are not the people the Lethbridge Housing Authority is trying to help. As Ms. James explained to us at the recent meeting at River Ridge, the LHA is focused on a recovery-oriented housing model. The goal of the Castle Apartments supportive housing project will be to provide safe, affordable housing for individuals who are prepared to change the trajectory of their lives.

Tenants will be provided a three-month fixed-term lease with the potential to extend their lease agreements until the tenant feels he/she is ready to live without daily supports. We are firm proponents of free speech, but this does not give anonymous residents or purported board members the authority to speak on behalf of all River Ridge residents. There has been no vote by the people to allow these supposed board members to speak on our behalf. The Herald article’s major argument of those who oppose the change of use is that 74 per cent of the homeless are Indigenous people who should “go back to the reserve.” We are disappointed at this out-dated and racist attitude on the part of people who appear to be misinformed or are attempting to spread misinformation to sow division within the community.

 These people do not appear to understand or care that the Castle Apartments is a recovery-focused facility that will house all races without prejudice. We believe that segregation is harmful because it suppresses human rights, limiting productive employment, educational opportunities, and access to adequate housing. 

More seriously, it prevents free life choices and an ability to contribute and participate in the wider society. Housing is essential to everyone, especially to those who are recovering from trauma and/or addictions, regardless of race. Let’s not try to stop the LHA from trying to better conditions for the unfortunate among us by providing them with a place to live. Let’s be proactive in encouraging such help. It is essential to a healthy civil society. 

Ruth Buchanan, Dave Able and Andrew Kippers


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