One of the City Planners called me up this week and asked me to come in to go over a few things. No big deal, right? I had little idea that I would be lead into a room of four other city professionals, each of whom hold some kind of power in handing me the key to my future, and the future of this project.
If I had known from conception what this endeavor would entail; the work, the proposals, the meetings, the constant emotional demand, I wonder if I would’ve still initiated. I think that I may have shied away overwhelmed by all these requirements in which I have no training or experience. But at the same time, I would be wandering right now. I probably wouldn’t have stayed in Abbotsford this long, and I would not be experiencing the depth of relationship that I am privileged to right now. I am not afraid of hard work, and it has definitely been worth it.
The meeting was a list of requirements and concerns. Not many of the issues were new things not previously thought of, but our theoretical responses are not strong enough. I understand that when it comes to an undertaking such as this, and especially without any experience in the area, good intentions and hopes are not enough. Something concrete is needed; research, and back-up. Problems should be solved before they can happen. I understand that this is for the well-being of the city as well as ourselves.
I left with an understanding that we are in part battling logistics, but in part battling the prejudices of a well meaning, but completely unfamiliar people group who have no grid for a culture of such values and ambitions. Their perception on this type of living, based solely on past experience would be entirely negative. It is not enough to build only trust, but there must be an understanding and security as well. It is unfair to say that everyone one I have had to work with in the city is like this. But let me say that maybe the ones right now who have spoken the loudest are voices such as this.
At the same time, despite some of their appearant reservations. They have not mearly dismissed this project. They have spent much time and many meetings to work towards solutions that will help bring these plans to reality. I have felt their support and for that I am grateful.
There is much work to be done. Mostly, gathering a network of experience and support and facts that will convince the city that we have what it takes.
I tend to write in a reflective and somewhat abstract manner. You’rr probably wondering what these issues were that were brought up.
-Possible partnering with an association that has experience
-Affordable housing vs. off-campus dorms
-Ratios of students to non-students/the fact that students are not a main priority
-Who is the priority and how do you narrow and ensure your acceptance to that
-Security and crime prevention
-Organization and policies