The Municipality of Meaford is moving closer to the completion of its Community Safety and Well-being Plan. At their March 8 meeting, Council received an update on the project thus far, as well as the next steps toward completion of the project.
The provincially mandated plan has been in the works since January 2020. Originally, all municipalities were to have completed and adopted their plans by January 2021, however the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed that deadline to July 1 of this year. With many municipalities struggling to meet the new deadline, it is possible it could be changed yet again.
“Since the Ministry’s announcement regarding the new legislated deadline, a number of municipalities in Ontario have voiced concerns regarding the feasibility of completing a Community Safety and Well-Being Plan by July 1, 2021. With COVID-19 continuing to impact various sectors involved in the planning process, and impeding the ability to conduct meaningful in-person consultations, Ontario municipalities are continuing to both formally and informally voice their concerns to the Office of the Solicitor General regarding the deadline,” staff noted in their report to Council.
A community survey conducted last year received 440 responses, and identified five areas of focus of Meaford’s community safety and well-being plan:
Mental Health & Addictions/Substance Use
Poverty & Income
Supports & Programs for Youth, and
Supports & Programs for Seniors.
“Local data in these five areas of focus was also collated to help staff and members of the Partnership determine what risks to well-being currently exist locally for our residents. Challenges to well-being in these five areas will be analyzed, and considered as we move forward in proposing strategies for change through Plan action items,” staff advised Council.
As the municipality works toward the completion of the plan, municipal staff will be further engaging residents. On Wednesday, March 31, an evening virtual town hall will be held.
“This virtual session will be open to the public and will occur via the Zoom platform, similar to PIC sessions held for the Transportation Master Plan, or the Sykes Street Rehabilitation project,” staff advised Council. “This virtual session will provide residents across the municipality with the opportunity to gather information on the Well-Being Plan’s development, purpose, and objectives, and will also provide participants with the chance to give their feedback on the five priority areas of focus, and possible strategies for change. Dependant on participation rates in the March 31 session, staff will consider additional sessions for the month of April should public demand deem this necessary.”
A second survey will also be undertaken.
“As the first Community Well-Being Survey saw excellent response from municipal residents, a second survey will be released in March 2021 to reconnect with residents, report back on current findings, and to determine what actions they would like to see implemented locally to address the five priority areas of focus. This survey will be available online, and will be promoted on the website, in the Municipal newsletter and e-newsletter, and via social media,” staff told Council.