A provincially-led program aimed at improving the quality of life in the community has the City of Dauphin anxiously awaiting word on when the promised assistance is forthcoming.
Dauphin was one of 12 communities selected last April to receive provincial funding to develop and implement a Community Safety and Well-being Plan (CSWP) following a successful pilot project in Thompson in 2019-20.
While the City had hoped the process would begin last summer, it is still waiting on the province to appoint a consultant and provide the approximately $100,000 in funding, half of which will be used to formulate the plan with the other half being to used to implement its initiatives.
“The delay is starting to become problematic in the sense that we’d love to get going on it and we have to hurry up and wait,” mayor David Bosiak said. “I just wish that the province would pull the trigger on this and let us go. Who knows, that call or email could come any day, but I can’t really say when that will happen.”
The City had informal discussions with Manitoba Justice late last year regarding the process, and was able to educate the department on the work, which is already underway in the community.
Over the last number of years, the Crisis Prevention Task Force and Under One Roof have been working to effectively co-ordinate social services with various providers and have had some success in the approach.
The City has also met with those local service providers and other community groups to inform them about the program and its process, as well as offer its leadership with respect to the plan and how it will fit into the community. To that end, the City has created a repository for organizations to populate with information they want to share with the group and for the purposes of the CSWP.
But despite the work that has been done, Bosiak is fearful that given the complexity of the program and the diversity of the communities involved - six Indigenous communities and six municipalities, all of different sizes and facing different issues - the province will attempt a “cookie cutter” approach that produces results adequate for all, but perfect for none.
The City, he added, is more interested in developing a plan tailormade for Dauphin.
“I’m hoping there’s some flexibility from our end once they see that we have capacity, we have capability. We have people already doing this, so let’s not spend time and money doing stuff we’ve already done,” Bosiak said “One of the things we’re hopeful of is once this process starts with the provincially-appointed or identified consultant, that we can quickly come to a place with them to say ‘okay, we don’t have to get a community meeting, we don’t have to get the partners lined up, we don’t have to inform them, because we’ve already been doing that for two or three years anyway.”
What the City is looking for from the consultant, Bosiak said, is advice on some implementation strategies, with input from it’s community partners.
“Maybe even to help us assess how well or not the current Under One Roof programming is going for us,” he said.
The City will host the next meeting of the social service providers and community groups, as part of the CSWP process, at the end of January or early February.