WELLINGTON COUNTY – A Community Safety and Well-being Plan for Wellington County is now complete.
Three years in development, the plan was created through a Safe Communities Wellington County (SCWC) leadership table in partnership with Wellington County OPP and the County of Wellington.
“We’d like to thank the community members and organizations who participated,” states a June 7 press release from SCWC.
Officials state the plan addresses the unique nature of Wellington County and relies on the teamwork of many sectors, including municipalities, police, paramedics, education, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, healthcare, social services, and community based human services agencies.
“People needing assistance need to receive the right response, at the right time, by the right service provider,” stated Wellington OPP detachment commander Inspector Paul Richardson.
SCWC program coordinator Christine Veit said the expansive nature of Wellington County, “comprising seven municipalities that stretch from Grey County to the City of Hamilton,” is what makes it unique.
“There are very different demographics and needs for each of those communities when it comes to safety and wellness,” she explained.
“That is why it is crucial for all municipalities to have representation on the leadership table to ensure those priorities are addressed.”
The province has mandated the creation of community safety plans for each municipality in Ontario.
Viet notes that while this plan will cover the entire county, each municipality is required to be represented on the leadership table, and “contribute to safety and well-being initiatives and strategies that are implemented.”
She exlained residents have been engaged in the plan’s formulation and will also be involved in the implementation.
“When we first started the process in determining priorities for Safe Communities Wellington County that have now laid the framework for the plan, residents across the county were asked for their input through a community survey that was distributed to all Wellington County library branches,” she stated.
“These surveys provided us with qualitative data. Moving forward, we want residents to participate in the programs we implement, and we would like to encourage adults and youth to volunteer for our action groups, Safe Communities groups throughout our municipalities, and our events.
Veit said the safety and well-being elements of the program are intertwined.
“Safety and well-being, the entire phrase speaks to a holistic approach with prevention and social development on the forefront,” she stated.
The preliminary issues identified for attention in the plan include:
- reducing motor vehicle collisions throughout Wellington County;
- reducing instances of falls in the older population; and
- providing easier access to mental health supports and decreasing the escalating numbers of intentional self-harm.
In addition, the plan will include:
- decreasing the number of accidental poisonings;
- coordinating efforts with all municipalities to improve the safety of vulnerable road users;
- increasing safety protocols within organized sport organizations; and
- coordinating efforts to reduce agriculture related injuries.
“Wellington County is continuing on a collaborative path to strengthen our bonds with each other and increase the safety and well-being of the residents who live across our extraordinary county,” the release states.
“We will collectively work on evidence informed decisions that will make Wellington County one of the safest places in which to live, work, and thrive in Canada,” the release states.