Some Peterborough County councillors expressed skepticism Wednesday about the ability of the Community Safety and Well-being Plan (CSWB) to implement plans to address community social issues.
“I’m really getting tired of plans. You know, I’m just planned out,” said Cavan Monaghan Township Deputy Mayor Matt Graham, after hearing a presentation to council from the CSWB plan advisory committee.
Often plans become fragmented among different groups working on them, he said, and actual implementation is not reached.
“And that is frustrating.”
In 2019 the province required every municipality to adopt a CSWB plan to tackle social issues, and the city and five county townships joined forces to develop one.
Five areas were identified as priorities: housing and homelessness, poverty and income security, health care and mental health, substance use and addictions and transportation and connectivity.
At the heart of the plan is a desire to create conditions where everyone is able to access safe, affordable and appropriate housing and access income food security, and health and mental health supports they need to feel safe, consultant Lauren Hunter told council.
The plan offers 19 specific goals and 63 detailed strategies, risk intervention, prevention and social development to meet those goals, she said.
Trent Lakes Mayor Janet Clarkson said she also has reservations about the plan and doesn’t see many practical actions in it. She said an annual guaranteed income implemented now would get to the root of many of the problems.
Douro-Dummer Deputy Mayor Karl Moher noted there was a 10-year housing and homelessness plan instigated in 2014, but he is unaware of any feedback from it.
“With all due respect, there’s a lot of words on this report and they are all good words, but I’m wondering, is it really going to do the job,” Moher said.
But Chris Kalawec, community development program manager for the city and co-chair of the CSWB plan committee, said the committee will be working on an implementation strategy which will be presented to new township councils in January. It will also be convening a summit on housing, homelessness, addictions and mental health issues.
Kawalec said many of the plans’ priorities are beyond the capability of municipalities or agencies without provincial and federal investments but “the province has not put any financial resources toward development nor the implementation of the plan.”
In an interview following the meeting, Kawalec told The Examiner there are many proposed strategies that will help county residents.
For example, three rural hubs in Havelock, Apsley and Lakefield are being established which will provide physical space for social agencies and offer digital access for residents to connect with service providers.
Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner