At their March 2 council meeting, Tudor and Cashel Township talked about their Community Safety and Well-Being Plan and how they intended to finish and submit it to the Ontario Solicitor General by July 1. While Nancy Carrol, the clerk and treasurer, had asked council to hire a consultant to help get it done on time, council instead deferred the request until they could get more information. The matter will be brought up again at the April council meeting. Dr. Meara Sullivan has been hired by the other municipalities in North Hastings to help them get their CSWB plans finished by the deadline.
Carrol told council on March 2 that she was looking to get a consultant in to help get the CSWB finished for the July 1 deadline.
“It’s the one we were working on with North Hastings. Bernice [Crocker, the former township clerk and treasurer] did the legwork on it as well as Carlow Mayo, Hastings Highlands, Faraday, Wollaston, Limerick and Bancroft. They’ve all been working towards it,” she says.
This was the CSWB work done for the North Hastings townships and Bancroft in 2019 under the coordination of Dr. Meara Sullivan. Sullivan is a community and restorative justice specialist with over 20 years experience in her field. Her experience led her to be hired by the seven municipalities of North Hastings to help them to come up with their CSWB programs. They released the results of their public consultation phase in Feb. 2020, but progress since has been stalled by COVID-19.
The CSWB program was mandated by the Police Services Act and the province of Ontario’s Bill 68, the Safer Ontario Act. This mandate requires municipalities to come up with a multi-sectional advisory committee comprised of a number of cross-cultural partners, including police services, local service providers of physical and mental health care, education, community and social services and children and youth services. This committee, with a multitude of societal perspectives, came up with a cohesive CSWB and a successful plan moving forward. At this point, the municipalities in North Hastings have accumulated all the information and public input they require to compile and finish up their CSWB plans. They only need to put it all together into the final plan.
While the CSWB was mandated by the Police Act and the Ontario government to be in place by Jan. 1, that was extended to July 1 due to the ongoing pandemic.
Mayor Libby Clarke pointed out to council that since the CSWB was legislated, it had to be done. She asked Carrol how it would get done if they couldn’t get a consultant in, to which Carrol replied that she’d have to try to get it done herself, although she didn’t have the time, hence the request.
Carrol informed council that it would cost $25,000 for all five townships still needing to complete their CSWB to hire a consultant and once the cost was split, it would cost each of them $5,000. She suggested that money could be taken out of the cannabis fund to cover the expense of the consultant.
Councillor Noreen Reilly wanted some clarification on what the end result would be and what the main objective of the CSWB was. Councillor Bob Bridger also wanted some clarification along those same lines.
Consequently, when Councillor Roy Reeds put forth a motion to allocate $5,000 to hire a consultant to finish up the CSWB, it was defeated by council.
At that point, the request was tabled until more information about the CSWB was available to answer the council’s questions. At the next council meeting in April, this information and perhaps a presentation by Dr. Sullivan if that’s doable, will be presented and the matter of hiring a consultant will be looked at again at that time.
Dr. Sullivan confirms that the municipalities have completed all their data collection and consultation, but the full final plan needs to be created. On March 4, she got word from Lianne Sauter, the clerk and treasurer for Bancroft, that she had been hired on as a consultant for North Hastings to finalize their CSWB plans.
“North Hastings will one have collective plan covering the region, rather than seven individual ones. Tudor and Cashel has not yet confirmed. However, the other municipalities have agreed to move forward anyway because of the very tight deadlines. Allowing for review time, and council approval, there is a little over three months to have the full final plan completed,” she says.
There was another motion voted on March 2 that applies to the CSWB. There was a request to the Solicitor General by various municipalities to extend the deadline for the CSWB from July 1, as many municipalities would have a hard time meeting that deadline with COVID-19 ongoing. They were asking for a letter of support from Tudor and Cashel, and in a motion brought forth by Bridger and seconded by Reeds, council gave that support to ask the government to extend the CSWB deadline.
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times