What can Terrace learn from New York City?

The question posed above might seem a bit preposterous. Terrace is less than a century old; NYC is about to enter its fifth century

The question posed by the title above might seem a bit preposterous. Terrace is less than a century old; NYC is about to enter its fifth century.

Terrace is comparatively tiny with a few barely distinguishable neighbourhoods; NYC’s five boroughs distribute a population of nearly eight and a half million over a 300 square mile area (its greater metropolitan area contains nearly 24 million people).

Terrace offers one small community college and a branch of UNBC; NYC has a network of 120 colleges and universities.

Terrace still struggles to diversify its economic base; NYC has a diverse economy producing a ‘gross metropolitan product’ of nearly $1.4 trillion.

Terrace citizens speak a smattering of languages dominated by a civic shell of English; nearly 800 languages can be heard spoken in NYC.

Despite extraordinary differences in scale, the two communities have a lot in common. Both face the ongoing challenge of reconciling the extravagances of private ambition to the necessities of broad public benefit, opportunity and regulation. Both must navigate into the future by integrating responsible and responsive citizenship.

Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City has recently published One New York: the Plan for a Strong and Just City.

This plan, based on ideas solicited from thousands of New Yorkers at meetings, through polls and surveys, and on consultations with city agencies and regional partners, is over 300 pages long.

It has four general thrusts: support innovation and what is probably inevitable growth through creating and maintaining affordable housing, investing in high-growth industries, developing improved transportation infrastructure, and offering skills training programs; improve justice and equitability through raising the minimum wage, expanding family centers to provide physical and healthcare services and access to legal aid; make the city sustainable by reducing greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050 and committing to zero waste landfills by 2030; reinforce resiliency to be prepared for climate-related shocks like Hurricane Sandy by upgrading private and public buildings and strengthening coastal defenses against severe weather and predicted sea level rise. Ambitious!

It is all too easy to fall under the spell of idealistic imaginings and optimistic dreams. As the joke observes, the way to make God laugh is to tell Him your plans. Nonetheless, as New York Yankee Yogi Berra remarked, “If you don’t know where you’re going you might end up someplace else.”

Terrace, too, is seeking input from its citizens. On the City of Terrace website, posted on April 23, 2015, is the call, “We want your feedback!” requesting citizen input into an update of the Official Community Plan. How might our priorities compare to New York’s?

Economic development, long an uneven and uncertain process here in the Northwest, now threatens to overwhelm the community with changes too rapid to keep track of.

Nonetheless, councillors and concerned citizens from all walks of life (business organizations, environmental organizations, unions, etc.) are actively investigating opportunities and planning various responses. We are making ongoing efforts to improve affordable housing (a social justice issue) and to monitor local healthcare options that are managed through the Northern Health Authority. We’re addressing sustainability through improved recycling and more efficient handling of waste.

Perhaps our most notable weakness is our approach (or lack thereof) to resiliency, although many citizens and groups (including the late Jack Talstra) have talked of the need for improved flood preparation, especially after the high water scare of 2007, and of plans for better local food sufficiency.

We’re making progress, and we’re working on virtually all the same challenges as our giant cousin New York City. Check out their report, and think about adding your voice to the Terrace survey. It’s our common future at stake.

Retired English teacher Al Lehmann lives in Terrace, B.C.

 

Just Posted

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

Soup kitchen sees “groundswell of community support”

Donations toward looming tax bill push non-profit back in the black

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

Council supports lobby for fair share of cannabis tax revenue

The City of Terrace is throwing its support behind a West Kelowna… Continue reading

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Most Read