In response to a letter I wrote to Midland, Ontario Council, which was in a similar vein to my Community Safety Brochure for Council, Mayor Stewart Strathearn came back with a well though out, and very positive response. I am impressed, as I was rather cranky when I wrote both the letter and the post, and appreciate the Mayor’s positivity, and it makes me hopeful that we will in fact see real results from this plan.
With his permission, I reproduce his response below (any formatting issues are mine, due to conversion to the markup used by this site):
Good afternoon Daniel,
Thanks for taking the time to read the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan. It is based upon a scan of present issues, resources in our community allocated to dealing with those issues and breaking down the barriers to an integrated approach to solving issues as opposed to a siloed approach. One of the 1st tasks was to create consensus among the communities as to what needs priority. We did that based upon data analysis and community engagement. The Community Index of Wellbeing forms the core activity themes (issues) as shown in the report on page 16 upper left corner. Based on the data and confirmed through consultation within communities, our group focused on the three factors outlined in the report. As phase 1 ends with the generation of this report, make no mistake that a lot of work has gone into this effort not by the reps from the 4 municipalities and the OPP, but by County staff, and Karie Warner of Avail Consulting. We as municipal representatives helped direct the effort as did the municipal reps from all the GMCCs. Now at the end of Phase 1, this phase, we have a report reflecting consensus among the 4 communities, the OPP detachment and the County. I mention the County because many of the necessary services are delivered by the County on behalf of the Province. Phase 2 involves the creation of the local Municipal Coordinating Committee (GMCC) (pages 19 - 21) made up of local resources (people) necessary to resolving best means to move forward on the three priority areas. These are folks that are local, that deal with their parts of the puzzle and that will come together somewhat like a situation table to deal with the issues outlined. Their task is to do this outside of the traditional siloed methods, to develop appropriate performance areas with associated metrics and set the pace and level of cooperation amongst agencies and governments at all levels. Admittedly a tall task that will require dedicated and able people. They will be supported by the advisory committee identified on page 22.
Phase two is where the things you seek take shape, “What we, the public, want to see is short term, medium term, and long-term concrete actions, with not only cost estimates, but benchmarks that will tell us how the actions succeed or fail, as well estimated timelines to see the results”. I invite you to reread the strategic priority areas within each of the three wellbeing areas and you will see that the work is now beginning to develop what you asked to see through Phase 2. We will also have the benefit of the results from work done in other GMCCs throughout the County. I am glad that the report is, as you put it, attractive and maybe more likely to be read by more of the public. I hope so because that is why is is presented in the manner that you see, graphic and less text. The report is information and each time you read it you see a new facet. A formal report was not what we sought, nor do I believe that people would stay the course and read a long text dense format.
Daniel, I appreciate that you have taken the time to read and comment on this report. I ask you to consider that getting municipalities to agree on Community Index of Wellbeing as a viable tool and then agree on the three priorities to be addressed is a huge step forward. What happens next is critical and will require knowledgeable, capable, and committed people. The timeline will not be months for the significant changes to occur. Still, I can tell you that the expansion of 211 as an information and reporting resource around mental health and substance misuse is a direct result of the work on this plan. A clear, unexpected, and immediate win.
I’m willing to see this succeed and hope you are as well.