The good news for everyone involved in this project is that both sides have limited the battleground, thus far, to community consultation. The residents are complaining about a lack of it and the soup kitchen is happy to engage in it. That augers well for a sensible outcome.
The challenge for any project that people that supports the less desirable members of our community is that none of us really want it to be in our back yard. “I’m in favour of music festivals but they should be in Tenterfield … The Rally is okay but it belongs in outback Australia … yadah yadah.”
The real crux of the problem is that we are all too busy taking care of ourselves to step up to the line and take care of others. This was driven home to me after spending a New Years Eve hanging around with a few hundred teenagers waiting for the year to change with a small bunch of parents anxious to avoid a repeat of the troubles of previous years. Yes maam, it can be really boring sharing the evening with a different generation that is just as bored with you. Regardless, the facts of the matter are that unless we mix it up and deal honestly with each other, we will never solve our mutual problems.
The best way for the people of North Lismore to come to terms with having a soup kitchen in their back yard is to get along and volunteer. Hopefully after the community consultation that is coming up, they will come to the same conclusion themselves.