Original Published on Aug 04, 2022 at 17:10

By Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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. 

This item reprinted with permission from The Examiner, Peterborough, Ontario