Our View: The Cost Of Sustainability


The pages of The Chronicle often feature articles about the need for affordable housing, accessible child care, and creative initiatives designed to help year-round residents – particularly young families – stay in town. Our coverage reflects a broader public dialogue that’s been underway for years. Chatham, for instance, recently created a Chatham 365 Task Force to consider issues of sustainability. Ensuring that our region is a place where working people can live is more than a cause célèbre. It’s one of our community’s core values.

But maybe we’re wrong?

Our letters page this week features a well-reasoned opposing view. To paraphrase, the author asks why the town would consider subsidizing child care for all young families, not just those who are income-qualifying. She also asks why the town works so hard to create affordable housing for people who simply can’t afford the local cost of living. Those folks should simply find places to live that fit their budgets, she argues.

Maybe it goes without saying, but we reject this position. It’s true that, in off-Cape communities, people can choose to live in nearby towns that are more affordable, but that’s not possible here, where the high cost of living is a regional phenomenon. Our year-round residents include teachers, police officers, and other people who run the infrastructure upon which our region depends. They’re the people who run our stores and restaurants, our social service agencies, our fishing industry, and countless small businesses. They operate our hospitals and nursing homes. And if they can’t afford to live here, ultimately, none of us will be able to live here.

Investing in sustainability isn’t about charity. It’s about the very future of the Lower Cape.