Sandy McCreight (left) and Robyn Newton (right) address what a community indicator is during a session last week.

Community conversation heard

Over 20 citizens discuss prominent issues and indicators

Chris Stedile

 

Castlegar News

 

More than 20 community members — ranging from city councillors to RCMP officers — met last week to discuss community issues and indicators.

The Castlegar Social Planning Society hosted the conversations at the Sandman Inn, along with the Social Planning and Research Council of BC.

What is an indicator?

As the research council puts it, “When we cannot measure something directly, we look for a proxy, a measure that provides and indication of the state or condition of something.”

An indicator points to, suggests, or shows something.

“I’m thrilled with the number of things people want to talk about,” said Sandi McCreight of the planning society, “and at the end of the day, with the three different topics we picked to discuss further, I’m excited.”

Many topics such as employment and waste management were brought up but the three that stood out and received significant attention were housing and homelessness, support services, and collaboration between sectors and the community.

“We’re hoping people will be motivated by this event,” said SPARC’s senior researcher, Robyn Newton, who was on hand to assist in the discussions.

The intent of this annual event wasn’t only to identify indicators, but for those in attendance to connect and hopefully collaborate outside the meeting.

“If they don’t have a social service network, participating here will hopefully help that,” Newton said.

“Larger communities may have many planners and such, but with [Castlegar] it’s often people doing things off the side of their desks. We just try and give them the tools.”

McCreight added, “What we’re hoping to get out of this is for more people to continue social planning conversations and actually move forward with some of the things people are saying.”

The first half of the event involved a slideshow that explained various indicators commonly found in communities, such as links between unemployment and economic health, and income gaps to inequality.

“We use indicators and data as a basis for action. What should our priorities be?” Newton asked.

Newton said the most difficult aspect to tackle is support services.

“We look at the number of services. Do they have wait lists? How much funding comes into the community for support services? Then we look at trends.”

After lunch, it was time for discussion and to search indicators within the community. Members from all walks of the community interacted with one another on the city’s major social issues.

Among them were Deb McIntosh, city councillor and head of the Community Harvest Food Bank, and Bruno Tassone, who is also on council and chairs the health and wellness committee.

“I think it’s important  we have council engagement, and we always have,” McCreight said. This was her tenth year attending an event of this type.

“It’s very nice that we have some councillors here because they’ve gotten a feel for what concerns many citizens,” Newton added.

“I’m hoping that after this event,” McCreight continued, “we can talk to some of the people, have some specifics and maybe down the road have two or three more events throughout the next year that we can continue these conversations at.”

She plans to address council in full once all the stats from the meeting are put together.

“I will create something from this. I’ll make sure council knows what we did, what the outcome was and what we plan to do with this information.”

The Castlegar Social Planning Society exists to recognize the needs of the community and sustain and nurture the community’s social development. It supports community needs and interests in social, cultural, economic and environmental affairs.

For more information on the planning society or to get involved, contact Roberta Hamilton at robertah@telus.net.

 

Just Posted

Zoning mix-up nixes Shoreacres property sale

Man says the RDCK’s listings online don’t match his property’s official zoning

Castlegar coach receives Basketball BC honour

Cheryl Closkey recognized for 50 years of volunteering

Application deadline approaching for Castlegar-Embetsu exchange program

Student exchange program sees students travel to Japan every other year.

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

RED resort announces new ski lift

Topping lift will add new ski area to resort, reduce bottleneck on Motherload chair

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Number of homeless deaths more than doubled in B.C. as opioid crisis set in

New data shows trend between more overdose deaths and the number of people dying in the street

Four people spat on in ‘random, unprovoked’ assaults: Vancouver police

Police ask additional victims to come forward after woman in a wheelchair spat on

Most Read