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Essex residents provide input to Regional Safety and Well-Being Plan


by Sylene Argent

On Monday evening, interested residents within Essex were able to add input to the Regional Community Safety and Well-Being Plan through a virtual conversation with organizers.

  The plan is being put together with the guidance of various partners, including the City of Windsor, area municipalities within the County of Essex, and agencies and organizations from many sectors.

  The purpose of the plan is to create a community where everyone feels safe, has a sense of belonging, has access to services and opportunities, and can have their needs met across Windsor and Essex County.

  The plan is being created, because as of January 1, 2019, the Safer Ontario Act, 2018 requires municipalities to prepare and adopt community safety and well-being plans in partnership with a multi-sectoral advisory committee. The City of Windsor and the County of Essex must prepare a draft plan and seek approval from their respective councils. The report must be submitted and endorsed by City and County Councils by December 31, 2021.

  In preparing the plan, organizers are reaching out to each municipality to get feedback from their residents on what on the plan should entail.

  The website dedicated to the plan noted Community Safety and Well Being Plans and their implementation seek to shift the focus of safety and well-being efforts from a reactive, incident-based approach, to a more proactive, holistic approach.

  Leonardo Gil, Project Manager for the Community Safety and Well Being Plan, said having the conversation with residents is great in measuring the challenges and strengths of each community.  

  While it is about regional collaboration, and ensuring everyone is connecting on this, there will be appendixes for each municipality as there are unique strengths and unique challenges in each community.

  “It makes more sense for us to understand what those local priorities are through these types of conversations and through our online survey, and see how we can tie some recommendations to that,” Gil said.

  Developing the plan is about understanding and respecting the context from a community and social standpoint, and seeing how work can be done collaboratively to effect change on some of those complex social issues.

  There are matters that are unique to Essex that were heard during the virtual meeting held for the area, including the need for more social services and desire for more traffic policing, Gil said. Other priorities included better internet access. Some elements that were similar to other municipalities, he said, included more affordable housing and rental housing.

  Gil said the meeting also included great conversations about what is available currently within the Town of Essex that can be used as a starting point when launching the plan’s priorities.

  There are two more virtual meetings, one for Leamington and one for Kingsville, planned.

  Those who would like to provide input through a survey can do so by March 15. Visit: cswbwindsoressex.ca for the link and further information.

Next steps will be to analyze the input presented through the survey and virtual meetings, then identify priorities. Gil said it will be a living document that can be added to over time. He expects there will be an element for regional collaboration through the document.

  Gil looks forward to presenting the document to area Councils by the end of the year and getting it adopted.

© 2021 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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