Native friendship housing plan disregards food sources, education

I am writing in response to the proposed location of the native friendship society and subsidized housing. I am a registered nurse and feel it would be unethical to keep mum about the concerns I have.

I am writing in response to the proposed location of the native friendship society and subsidized housing. I am a registered nurse and feel it would be unethical to keep mum about the concerns I have.

When we consider the factors that impact health, where a person lives carries a great deal of weight.

I am very concerned about the proposed location for a subsidized housing project. Research tells us that when there is a low-income population, the presence of and lack of transportation impacts from where people obtain their food.

Considering where the city is wanting to place a vulnerable population, just think about the nearest convenience stores, restaurants, grocery stores. In terms of walking distance, 7-Eleven, Canadian Tire gas bar and Burger Boy are closest.

Having lived in Riverside Meadows and worked in the surrounding areas, families frequented the nearest store — often 7-Eleven — for food necessities, such as milk, bread, eggs, and often households are lacking in the foods necessary for health maintenance.

This means fewer fresh fruits, vegetables and fresh meat, and way more refined, processed and convenience foods on the plates of an already vulnerable population.

In addition, the proposed site sits very far from the nearest elementary school (Fairview). What impacts will this distance have on absenteeism in the early years of education?

Research has told us for decades of the importance of those first five years of education being paramount in predictors of continuance of education Has this not registered as a concern to the folks who sit on city council?

I wonder why the Riverlands site wasn’t pursued? Granted, that may take funds away from a lavish salary for a manager for the designated area. But consider the proximity to Superstore? To the elementary school? To the services that are use by those in the lower tax bracket (clothing bank, thrift stores, etc.).

One site makes good health sense, one site does not serve the health needs of a vulnerable population. I encourage council and developers to re-examine the proposed site of the subsidized housing project to optimize the health needs of the population.

Maggie Convey

Red Deer

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