Life is about constant change - people change, economies change, environments change, cities change, values change, styles change, etc., etc.. We all get that.
What we don't seem to get, at least in many places and with far too many people, is that in those instances where change is necessary or desired, and where we have choice and control, change should turn out to be for the better, not for the worse.
When we set about re-organizing, replacing, re-constructing, re-designing, or re-planning something, it should be with a commitment to improve things - make them better than they were before.
But anyone with an open, discriminating mind who either lives in or walks through any of the established residential areas in Richmond would feel justified in challenging any claim that the changes that we see are, in fact, actually improving and enhancing life in our neighbourhoods.
Do those changes - including the proliferation of untold hundreds of over-sized houses that sit empty, un-cared for, and dark at night - make neighbourhoods safer, more congenial, more attractive, or more vibrant than those that were filled with older homes occupied by full time residents
Do the related rising taxes make you feel more or less secure about being able to live where you want?
Friends and former colleagues of mine who are designers, architects, and town-planners simply shake their heads at what they see in Richmond. In their minds Richmond is the consummate example of what not to do in community-planning and culture-building and they see this city's primary value as that of providing a negative case history for other, more enlightened communities to learn from.
These are educated people who thoroughly understand that the enablement of a "pave-it-over, build-it big, build-it-fast, cut corners, sell-it-fast" approach to housing development leads inevitably to negative and retrogressive results rather than positive, progressive ones.
Among other things they see a future of diminishing options and possibilities for those who would like to live and raise their children in a diverse and affordable Richmond neighbourhood.
It might be justifiable to blame rapacious developers and voracious off-shore investors for what is happening, or see our city councils, past and present, as being guilty of ignorance, and/or neglect, but, as a wise man once said, we get the government we deserve.
If we fail to fully educate ourselves about important issues, the backgrounds and values of the people we elect to office, and what the alternatives might be to what we are offered and forced to live with, we surely deserve to suffer the consequences of our own neglect.
Remember these points when you walk through your changing neighbourhood, and especially remember them when you vote, or chose not to, in the next election.
Ray Arnold Richmond