Safe community designation for Wellington County expected by July

Wellington County could have its national safe community designation by June 20.

That was the word received by the county’s Safe Community Committee at its meeting on April 18.

“Barry King from Safe Communities Canada  attended the meeting and confirmed that following our submission (application for national designation submitted in March) of some additional information to complete the 10-step process for designation, Wellington County will receive its Safe Community designation this spring,” county committee co-chairman Gary Williamson said.

“A tentative date for the designation is being planned for June 20.”

The designation is the first received by a county. Across Canada there are 60 designated municipalities.

Williamson termed the designation as “an important community achievement.”

The committee has already decided its work will deal with the top three ranked accident causes determined by the committee and based on information provided by Wellington  Dufferin Guelph Public Health unit. The unit statistics were based on numbers of injuries, emergency responses, time spent in hospital and fatalities in a wide range of settings from 2004 to 2005.

Falls were ranked as the top priority for the group. During the four-year period, statistics show falls resulted in 60 fatalities, 14,869 emergency calls and 1,821 hospitalizations with 12,679 days spent in hospital.

Motor vehicle accidents were ranked second and resulted in 39 fatalities, 3,419 emergency responses and 2,212 days in hospital.

Intentional self harm, including suicides, was chosen as a third priority by the committee, with 27 fatalities during the four-year period, which resulted in 612 emergency responses, 248 hospitalizations with 663 days spent in hospital.

The  committee plans to team up with the county roads department for signs on county roads to “reduce accidents and severity through strategic messaging and sign placement,” Williamson said.

“Messaging will bring awareness to issues like drinking and texting while driving, and speeding and farm equipment on roads,” Williamson added.

The intention of the county committee is to work independently with local safe community and COPs committees already in place in lower tier municipalities. The county committee will assist local committees with community events where the three county priorities are featured. Joint work could see the county committee assist in paying some of the costs for local committees to have guest speakers at events and will provide banners and an official stamp.

The county committee also reviewed brochures provided by the Farm Safety Association and the Canadian Chiropractic Association which it will incorporation in its events.

A committee website ( to promote health and safety will incorporate links including suicide prevention resources.

Wellington North

In a related matter, the Mount Forest safe community chapter adopted a new name at its evening meeting also on April 18.

The committee will be known as Safe Communities/Wellington North and is hoping to connect with a similar committee in Arthur. Indications are the Arthur COPs committee has been disbanded and Mount Forest members are planning to invite Arthur representatives in a bid to create a joint committee for the township’s two urban centres.

The township committee has formed sub-committees to create a website and media promotion, farm safety, youth issues, seniors safety-vial of life and do fundraising.

Meeting times have also been changed to the last Monday of the month at the New Growth Family Centre in Mount Forest. Each meeting will start at 7:30pm.