Peabody: What happened to the community safety plan?

·3 min read

BROCKTON – Mayor Chris Peabody wants to know what happened to the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan.

The plan took a lot of senior staff’s time, not to mention the municipality’s financial input, he said. The plan was an area initiative, involving municipalities, police, social service agencies and other community groups.

The mayor told about encountering a person in Walkerton recently who was obviously in need of assistance, “in a very unhealthy state” due to an addiction issue. His efforts to get the person some help included calls to police and agencies – no response.

He finally connected with the Grey County SOS (Supportive Outreach Service) paramedic, who was soon on her way with help for the person. Peabody said by that point, the police had taken the person into custody.

“Why would I have to call a non-government agency in Owen Sound?” he asked. He went on to say, “We have our Community Safety Plan,” and noted it’s supposed to be assisting people like the one in Walkerton “with a broad spectrum of services.”

“It’s just sitting on a shelf,” he said. “Obviously there is no plan.”

Peabody said he’ll be pushing for some answers from senior managers at all levels of government.

“We have a lot of people who should be assisting,” he said.

The mayor has been in touch with Bruce County about assistance that’s being offered to those in need, everything from topping up rent so it’s affordable to people working at minimum wage jobs, to emergency housing for those who are homeless.

He said the municipality’s bylaw officer and representatives from the YMCA have “engaged” a handful of people camping in Riverbend Park.

“He does go down and talk to them,” Peabody said.

Brockton has a bylaw that prohibits camping outside regular camping areas. “We don’t want people out there (in Riverbend Park) in the winter,” said the mayor. “It’s the lowest area in town and gets a lot of flooding.”

The community safety plan stems from new legislative amendments to the Police Services Act, 1990, that came into force in 2019. Every municipality was mandated to prepare and adopt a community safety and well-being plan by Jan. 1, 2021. Grey and Bruce counties worked together to develop a joint plan, which council adopted on Dec. 8, 2020.

Brockton lowers flags to half-mast

Brockton has expressed condolences to the Royal Family, the people of the United Kingdom, and the Commonwealth, on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Canada’s Head of State and longest-reigning British Monarch. In a written statement, Mayor Chris Peabody said “Queen Elizabeth II’s long-standing dedication to fulfilling her constitutional role, support throughout the Second World War, efforts in public service, and affinity for Canada are greatly appreciated and will not be forgotten. In commemoration of The Queen’s passing, flags are lowered half-mast at all municipal facilities. We thank Queen Elizabeth II for her steadfast service.”

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times