Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg
Photo from: Safe Communities WC Twitter account
A community safety and well-being plan has been mandated by the province for all municipalities across Ontario to adopt.
Safe Communities Wellington County has been working on its plan for residents alongside the County of Wellington, the Wellington County Police Services Board, the Wellington County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), and a number of different stakeholders across the county.
Christine Veit, program coordinator for Safe Communities Wellington County said the plan is for all different services of the county to work together, not siloed, to keep residents safe and well.
“I’ve always talked about our top three priorities being falls, motor vehicle collisions, and intentional self-harm,” Veit said. “Now we also incorporated into the plan accidental poisoning, sports and recreation, agricultural machinery and tools, [and] pedestrians and cyclists.”
Veit said the plan is to break down existing silos and encourage multi-sectoral partnerships to develop strategies, programs and services to achieve the greatest impact on safety and wellness across the county for all residents.
Veit explained the big takeaway for residents.
“I know that a lot of residents kind of rely so heavily on the police and the incident response, and I want everyone to realize that prevention is the key and social development,” Veit said.
Veit said residents can also make their own impact when it comes to the plan.
“Educate yourself about motor vehicle collisions and what you can do in order to feel more comfortable in for example, the roundabouts of the county, and make sure that it’s not just, ‘oh, we have to rely on the police to enforce,’” Veit explained.
She said that the plan will be presented to Wellington County council in March, 2021.
In the meantime, Safe Communities Wellington County just recently received funding to help protect residents against COVID-19.
Veit said over the last two to three weeks they purchased 2,600 three-layer face masks.
“We partnered with the food bank, Women in Crisis, with the family health team to distribute all of these masks to people that wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to purchase the three-layer mask,” Veit said.
Veit said the money to purchase the masks came from the County of Wellington.
She added that they still have some masks left for youth and adults and if anyone is needing one to contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.