The HIRRA meeting last Wednesday, after the (short) regular agenda, featured a Community Conversation, a continuation of the Covid Conversation begun in 2020. In these conversations, participations are invited to brainstorm, share ideas and questions about the future of our community. In practice, it involved reports from various groups with feedback encouraged. I didn’t take notes, so I’m left with general impressions rather than the details. Still getting the hang of this!
Discussion revolved for the most part around the brand new Hornby Housing Network, voted into existence at the meeting. A lot of questions were asked, but few were answered. Questions were encouraged for the purpose of discussion and awareness, so that solutions can be worked toward, but answers just aren’t there yet. Many brains are working together on solving this crucial threat to our future: where will our contributing community members live? How do we get there from here? Possible pathways are limited but I was impressed to hear the breadth of the ideas presented.
While there were not as many participants as they had prepared to host, it was very well attended for a HIRRA meeting. If we had all met in the Hall, the room would have felt pretty full. There are advantages to Zoom, as people are able to participate from elsewhere, too. Issues raised ranged from how to make it possible for people to have second dwellings on their land to summer workers’ housing. Zoning changes were mentioned. One member made the important point that developing summer housing solutions should be primarily for the benefit of people who need the housing, not for the employers, though they would also benefit. It’s too easy to forget that these are people’s lives we are talking about, not economic conveniences.
I was impressed by the quality of input and the thoughtfulness that everyone brought to the table. If one person hadn’t thought of a particular aspect of the problem, another had, and spoke to it. The conversation felt well rounded without a lot of contentiousness, a blessing when it comes to an issue so fraught with unmet needs and gaping holes. It appears we are moving forward, however slowly, and with a lot of obstacles and problems, but it may be we’ve hit a breakthrough point where the gears of our community are finally meshing to address this costly longstanding issue. Or so we all hope.
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you, with feedback or ideas for future columns. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org