City of Regina wants residents to share thoughts about community safety, well-being in new survey

·2 min read
A Black Lives Matter rally in Regina on June 7, 2020, heard from speakers who shared their personal experiences with racism and inequality. The city formed a community wellness committee following that, and now wants to hear from more Regina residents through a community safety and well-being survey.
A Black Lives Matter rally in Regina on June 7, 2020, heard from speakers who shared their personal experiences with racism and inequality. The city formed a community wellness committee following that, and now wants to hear from more Regina residents through a community safety and well-being survey.

(Heidi Atter/CBC)

The City of Regina wants residents to share their opinions on community safety and well-being, with the aim of informing a new city council committee.

Last December, city council created a new community wellness committee, intended to focus on discussions around issues like housing, poverty reduction, mental and physical wellness, addiction, discrimination and other social determinants of health and crime.

The city is launching an online survey under its "Be Heard Regina" community engagement site, which the city says will inform a community safety and well-being plan.

"Cities across Canada are increasing their focus on community safety and well-being by recognizing that it cannot rest solely on the shoulders of the police," Mayor Sandra Masters said in a statement Friday.

Matt Duguid/CBC
Matt Duguid/CBC

The survey is an opportunity to understand how the needs of Regina people are being met, where there are gaps and how to address them, Masters said.

It's being conducted as part of the city's efforts to develop a community safety well-being plan, outlining a collective approach to issues such as poverty, inequality, mental illness, substance use challenges and homelessness.

The city is working with the Canadian Municipal Network on Crime Prevention on the plan, and expects to present it to city council in September of this year.

"Community engagement is very important to this process," said Diana Hawryluk, the city's executive director of planning an community development.

"We want to understand how residents currently perceive community safety and well-being in Regina, and to learn from their lived experiences."

Bryan Eneas/CBC
Bryan Eneas/CBC

The wellness committee was established last year to help address issues in the city like racial inequality, homelessness, the opioid crisis, substance use and more.

It was formed following last year's surge in the Black Lives Matter movement, which came alongside calls to defund police departments and redirect funds to social services and programs.

The province also saw a record number of overdoses last year. Regina police say more than 100 people died from apparent drug overdoses in 2020.

The new city survey asks residents about their perceptions of crime and safety in the community, and their perception of substance abuse issues in the city.

Bryce Hoye/CBC
Bryce Hoye/CBC

It also asks more general questions about happiness and satisfaction with the quality of life in the city.

The survey includes a trigger warning, noting it asks questions about experiences with several different crimes including domestic violence, assault and sexual assault. The survey doesn't ask for specific details, and provides a list of resources.

It is open until March 31.

Along with the survey, the city says it will hold conversations with a wide range of stakeholder groups including youth, seniors, women, Indigenous residents, newcomers, community service providers and different neighbourhoods.