A picture of the front of Q'waxsem Place just after construction is finished.

Photo Credit: Ethan Morneau / My Comox Valley Now

Countering Nimbyism – Cahiri Secondary Students Welcome Homeless Project to Their Neighbourhood

Local teens take matters into their own hands

“For these kids to do that it made me feel wonderful, really really welcoming”

People are often scared by things they don’t know about. That’s why a lot of people were upset when Q’waxsem Place was announced.

The $10.4 million project gives homeless people in Campbell River a place to live and services to help them get off the street. But the project made other people who live in the neighbourhood concerned. It was the usual Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) type-response. Some people thought there would be more crime, or that their property values would go down. They also worried about their kids who go to Cahiri Secondary School down the street.

Now that Q’waxsem Place is up and running, the kids who go to Cahiri Secondary wanted to make sure their new neighbours felt welcome.

Grade 12 student Trent Perras got 300-400 of his classmates to sign a poster welcoming the people who live in Q’waxsem Place.

“I’d heard that there were some people, including some parents, that had a problem with this building being built near schools,” Perras told the Campbell River Mirror. “So I wanted to show my support for it.”

Fellow Cahiri Grade 12 Heidi Schulte also wanted to show her support. “I don’t think that has been seen a lot in our community in general so just to know that the community and the school are supporting this and want to make a change is something unbelievable.”

Two high school students stand in front of a poster they made that says "welcome to our community". The poster contains 300 signatures from fellow students.
Cahiri High students welcome Q’waxsem Place residents to the neighbourhood.

The poster is now hanging the front lobby, and the people who live in Q’waxsem Place are noticing.

Rebecca Moerike has been living on the street in Campbell River on and off for the past 6 years. She lives at Q’waxsem Place now. She told CHEK News, “For these kids to do that it made me feel wonderful, really really welcoming.”

“Nobody wanted us and now they do and it’s just nice.”