Renfrew council expected to meet community safety plan

·3 min read

Renfrew – It’s expected the Community Safety and Well Being Plan the town is to have prepared by the extended deadline of July 21 will be met.

Councillor Sandi Heins, who is co-chair of the advisory group creating the plan, is happy the Solicitor General extended the deadline from January 21.

“We will meet the date,” she said.

There are four areas in each local plan that will help make communities safer and healthier: social development, prevention, risk intervention and incident response. As part of the Police Services Act effective January 1, 2019, municipalities are required to develop and adopt community safety and well-being plans working in partnership with a multi-sectorial advisory committee comprised of representation from the police service board and other local service providers.

For the area of Renfrew, the committee was formed in late 2019 and in early January 2020, hired Pat Finnegan to lead them through the steps of creating the plan, said Coun. Heins. There are six municipalities partnered with Renfrew: Admaston/Bromley, Horton, Whitewater Region, Arnprior, McNab/Braeside and Greater Madawaska.

“Each of those municipalities have representatives on the advisory committee,” she said. “We are working with the Renfrew (OPP) Detachment Commander and of course under the leadership of Pat Finnegan to put together that plan.”

Fire Chief Kevin Welsh, fire committee chair Jeff Scott and herself represent Renfrew, she said.

“We’ve been working through various exercises to get the writing of the plan,” she said.

Currently, they are working on qualifying the risks and how they may be handled. Next is the public consultation, which could be challenging in these COVID times, she said.

“We have a unique committee and they have lots of expertise on how we might handle that (public meeting),” Coun. Heins said.

Following the meeting, the report should be finalized and into council’s hand by mid-June, she said.

Each municipality must pass it and it will then be listed on the website. There will be work with the plan for the rest of 2021.

In Renfrew and the municipalities in the lower part of the Valley, a situation table has already been formed, which retired OPP Sgt. Brian Schutt has been leading since January 2017 under retired OPP Detachment Commander Colin Slight, Coun. Heins said.

“We’re a big step ahead already having that Situation Table in place,” she said.

The Situation Table is composed of many social service agencies, family and children’s services, health unit, mental health and housing, she said.

“Representatives of those groups come together once a month and deal with the various situations, so that we’re not wasting our services on having everybody go to a situation when it should be housing, or a mental health issue,” she said. “They are co-ordinating that, so we’re really well-established in that and we’re lucky to have that here already in place and working very well.”

Connie Tabbert, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader