The Discourse Nanaimo’s most-read solutions stories of 2022

The solutions stories that mattered most to The DIscourse Nanaimo readers this year.

We have a lot to look back on this year when it comes to homegrown solutions. Thanks to your tips and financial support, our small team had the opportunity to report on some of them. Here are the solutions stories we shed light on that mattered most to you, based on what you read and shared most.

Rental affordability

A renter stands in front of a rental unit complex on Prideaux Street in Nanaimo next to a sign that says "tenant parking only."
Purpose-built rental buildings like this one on Prideaux Street in Nanaimo are becoming increasingly unaffordable, tenants say. Photo by Denisa Reyes

After our 2021 series on local rental affordability, reporter Julie Chadwick dug into the latest spike in rental prices. The story explores what these figures actually mean for the average person trying to get by, based on average incomes, and what can be done about it. We also shared The Discourse’s resource guide for renters

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Cultural safety

Daniel Elliott and Kim Trotter stand on the rocks at the beach smiling at eachother.
“To do something can feel so overwhelming for people sometimes,” says Daniel R. Elliott, a mentor for Culturally Committed. “How can we come together in a way that makes this country just glow and have no big skeletons in the closet?” Photo by Philip McLachlan/The Discourse

A reader first told us about a local organization working to combat anti-racism in health care through mentorship. Ever keen to uphold our commitment to report solutions, Nanaimo editor Lauren Kaljur dove in. “We are relationship building,” says Stz’uminus artist, counsellor and co-founder of Culturally Committed, Daniel R. Elliott. “That’s some of that groundwork that really needs to happen.”

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Understanding would-be voters

The front of city hall is burned.
In many B.C. communities, a fraction of eligible voters participated in the 2018 municipal elections. Photo by Jesse Winter/The Discourse

When we learned that less than a quarter of eligible Nanaimo residents voted in the 2022 municipal election, Lys Morton interviewed residents to learn what barriers kept them from voting.

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Centring lived experience

Flowers memorialize lives lost to drug overdose on green grass,
The Moms Stop the Harm memorial in Downtown Nanaimo demonstrates lives lost to the drug poisoning crisis for International Overdose Awareness Day, Aug. 31, 2019. Photo provided by Sarah Lovegrove

At The Discourse, we believe the best solutions come from listening to people with lived experience. Ladysmith secondary student T.J. Nyhan told readers about students taking action against racism. Nurse and community advocate Sarah Lovegrove told readers about solutions to Nanaimo’s drug poisoning crisis as a person who uses substances to heal from PTSD.

Local non-profit governance

Downtown Nanaimo street shows Literacy Central Vancouver Island.
Downtown Nanaimo is home to a number of essential services delivered by non-profits. When governance falls apart, the whole community suffers. Photo by Rae-Anne Guenther/The Discourse

Many local non-profits deliver essential services in our community. Some succeed and others fall apart. Reporter Rae-Anne Guenther interviewed executive directors, board members and former employees of various Nanaimo organizations, from Tillicum Lelum to the Nanaimo Family Life Association, to learn how they overcome challenges and foster constructive governance. “Important topic in our community, thank you,” one reader wrote. 

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Convoy conflict resolution

Protesters wave flags at a trucker convoy rally on Jan. 29 in Parksville, B.C
Protesters wave flags at a ‘Freedom convoy’ rally on Jan. 29 in Parksville, B.C. Photo courtesy of Deborah Vanderwolf

Honourable mention going to Julie Chadwick’s response to the freedom convoy, where she asked conflict resolution experts to weigh in on how to bridge our separations. After we published this piece, reader letters kept the conversation going.

As one of you pointed out: “Where can we have a rational public conversation?” Many of you appreciated the space we could provide.

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Investigating your local concerns

“I can’t get over it. I think about it every day, still,” says former Buttertubs Drive complex caretaker Jim Power. Photo by Rae-Anne Guenther/The Discourse

You’re probably thinking, what about Julie Chadwick’s biggest investigations of the year? By far, our most-read stories were from our series It Takes a Village, which investigates concerns and responses of local seniors living in low-income housing.

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Julie’s award-nominated investigation into water submetering was a close second. The Discourse was the first to expose this practice in B.C. and the reporting contributed to a formal investigation launched by the BC Utilities Commission. “I believe your story had more than a small part to play in [the investigation],” says Leigha Worth, who is providing legal representation for residential energy rate-payers as intervenors.

These deep dives were direct responses to community tips, built from countless hours of reporting and research, all made possible thanks to your generous support. We thank you for making this investigative journalism possible. Not a supporter yet? Join the movement today.

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