Living with Airbnb
"The first point of a city is to live in it, the second is to visit"—so says a spokesperson for the city of Amsterdam, as quoted in the Guardian this week. The article is about rental homes in Amsterdam, where the proliferation of Airbnbs is apparently ruining life for the city's residents. The same story is told in reporting about Airbnb's major cities around the world.
Yet every article about Airbnb in Nova Scotia, including Sandra C. Hannebohm's "Short-term rental rules to change in favour of Airbnb listers" story in the March 14 Coast, focuses on the players in the tourism industry. Missing is any mention of what the Airbnb boom in Halifax is doing to our neighbourhoods.
Short-term rentals run by absentee hosts are essentially hotels in residential zones. Their owners market the ambiance of a setting that is "just like home," while destroying that very quality for the people who live next door. Sure we want people to visit the city, but we also want people to make their homes here–don't we? —Sharon Batt, Halifax
Fixing health care
I was misdiagnosed in 1991 with multiple sclerosis. For over 20 years I suffered needlessly while taking over $50,000 worth of drugs, yearly, for a disease I didn't have. In 2011, I travelled to Belgium, and in 2013 to California (out-of-pocket cost $15,000 per trip), and found out that I don't have multiple mclerosis but stenosis of the veins.
More than six years later my medical records have still not been updated. WHY? Because I am not allowed to visit a vascular surgeon in Canada because of my diagnosis. WHY? Is it because maybe I might go after the health department for a misdiagnosis? I would definitely not be taking over $50,000 worth of drugs for my newly diagnosed illness.
As other have asked: What will it take for ill Canadians to get help and recognition for their diseases? The answer is a health care system that treats all patients' illnesses equally, regardless of the costs or kickbacks or whatever it is motivating the current broken system. —Karen R. Clarke, Dartmouth
I'm writing to call attention to the climate action strikes that students in Nova Scotia and across the world are participating in. I think this is fantastic for our politicians to see our younger generation taking some control over their future. The individuals with the power to make change need to step up and do what's right for these people who will become the leaders of the next generation, and also who will become parents to another generation.
We've proven we can make a difference with climate change. Now needs to come the work to do things differently for the greater good instead of worrying about business. —Cheryl Gardner, Terence Bay
On last week's Voice of The City, "Trains, trucks and transplanted residents," we published an incorrect last name for the author, whose correct name is Murray Metherall. We sincerely apologize to Mr. Metherall for the error.