Various organizations in Sarnia-Lambton are coming up with a plan to make the area safer, more engaging and more responsive to people’s well-being.
What that means, more specifically, is a work in progress, said Nancy Dubois, with DU B FIT Consulting.Work to develop priorities for the area’s safety and well-being plan started about a year ago but had been sidelined amid COVID-19, said the county-hired consultant helping develop the strategy for Lambton’s 11 member municipalities.An advisory committee with about 12 members met for the first time about two weeks ago, Dubois said.
Before COVID-19, the intent was to have a plan in place by January 2021, she said. The initiative was planned to launch in March.
With people redeployed to different jobs amid the pandemic, the focus on COVID-19 and wariness about introducing something brand new amid the year’s uncertainty, things have been delayed, Dubois said.An extension is being provided for the work, required under the Police Services Act across the province, but it’s unclear when the new deadline will be, she said.First up is identifying priorities that fit within a Ministry of the Solicitor General-prescribed framework that focuses on promoting and maintaining community safety and well-being, proactively reducing unidentified risks, intervening to mitigate elevated risk situations, and immediate response plans for urgent situations, she said.
“We want to get input as to what the priorities are for the county,” she said, noting examples could be opioids and alcohol use. for which a strategy is currently being developed, or homelessness, for which a county strategy has also been put together.
When public consultation will happen, though, is unclear, she said, noting the advisory board is currently figuring those details out. That consultation will likely be achieved through a survey, she added.
“The second part of the consultation is then ‘what do we do about those priorities?’” she said, noting that’ll likely involve more stakeholder consultation than with the general public.
About 12 different organizations – including police, public health, First Nations, social services and other sectors – are represented on the advisory committee, she said.
There’s been “overwhelming” buy-in when it comes to participating in the process, she said.
How much it’ll cost for implementation is also part of the planning process, she added.
Municipalities are splitting the $50,000 cost for the planning process by population, said Sarnia emergency management manager Ron Realesmith.
A report detailing the cost-sharing breakdown was recently presented to Sarnia city council.