Vibrant Communities needs public’s help to create a Community Safety and Well-being plan

The Cornwall sign along Hwy. 2. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

CORNWALL, AKWESASNE & SDG COUNTIES — Vibrant Communities (VC) is a collective impact initiating led by The Social Development Council or Cornwall and area (SDC). In early 2018 the SDC began engaging people from many different backgrounds like policy makers, healthcare workers, non-profit professionals, business owners, people with lived experience and many more from across SDG, Akwesasne and Cornwall. The group is to assess and find the biggest issues our communities are faced with then take action collectively and address those large societal issues with a strong focus on prevention.

VC have partnered with the United Counties of SDG, Akwesasne and the City of Cornwall to complete their provincially mandated Community Safety and Well-Being Plan as it aligns perfectly with their vision. On January 1, The Government of Ontario mandated municipalities (single and upper tier) to prepare and adopt a Community Safety and Well-Being plan (CSWB). As part of these legislative changes, municipalities are required to work in partnership with police services, health/mental health, education, community/social services and children/youth services as they undertake the planning process. The goal of this plan is to achieve the ideal state of a sustainable community where everyone is safe, has a sense of belonging, access to services and where individuals and families are able to meet their needs for education, health care, food, housing, income and social and cultural expression. Once this plan is created VC will be committed to seeing it implementing.

The four pillars of this plan mental health, access to health services, poverty and community safety. These were identified by the community as priorities during a successful survey last summer.

In order to create a plan that is representative of our communities VC has begun public engagement. The first step of this engagement took place in early July when over 100 people participated in focus groups on each pillar to really dig down to the root causes and to identify initiatives and solutions to tackle them. Now, VC is looking to the community to help prioritize the many initiatives that were discussed during the focus groups.

The community can help in 2 ways; online and in person. Folks can simply access a survey in French or in English at https://sdccornwall.ca/survey-sondage/. VC is also popping up all over Cornwall, SDG and Akwesasne to talk to residents and have them participate in an engagement activity. They can be found at community events, parks, etc. over the next few weeks. To know where they will be next please follow the SDC on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SDCCornwall.

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