“A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” – Gandhi
Happy December to all! Your friends and neighbours of the McCauley Community League executive wish you all the warmest and happiest in the Holiday Season and for the New Year.
October/November was another busy period for the League. We are exploring new options for our website and communications; slowly working on Block to Block; working with local business owners/developers on several proposals; working on policy for our rink and recreation programs; our children’s dance program; and much more.
A quick note on consultation and public involvement: having concerns over a consultation process or even urban planning, design, or architecture aspects of proposals is not opposition to a proposal. Once plans are approved or a building is completed it is too late. Many volunteer hours from members of community leagues throughout the city have been spent attempting to encourage high quality urban design, architecture, and public consultation. These are individuals who see their responsibility in society as an ongoing one and not a “set and forget” activity that is done once every three or four years at election time.
An important meeting was consultation on the concept of an Assessment and Sobering Care Centre (ASCC). This idea was publicly suggested by the Chief of Police in September as a new use for the Remand Centre. The meeting content was very general and at a conceptual level with no building, location, or even operational model clearly identified. Driving this is recognition by the EPS that the current model of service delivery for those in serious need requires improvement, that the situation is damaging individuals and neighbourhoods, and that it is inappropriately tying up EPS, Fire, and EMT resources.
There seems to be acknowledgement and acceptance that repeating or expanding what we have always done is not the solution and that locating services and housing in a small number of concentrated locations is not a good idea. That is reassuring but I don’t think many of the community volunteers who attended the meeting left feeling too comfortable with the ASCC concept.
Location and concentration remain major concerns. Even though over-concentration and lack of city wide service seemed to be well recognized, the conversation returned to the idea of a single point (city wide) and the false logic of supplying the service where the existing services are (the chicken and egg argument).
There is a kernel of a good idea here but it could also go very wrong. The idea of efficient and coordinated assessment, access, and integration of service delivery is a must but it is also an idea that has been repeatedly funded, discussed, and processed to death without realizing the fundamental changes required. Even though EPS represents new leadership on this issue they will not run or establish the ASCC (whether virtual or physical) which likely leaves that to the same players who have failed to act on these identified in the past. It could be easy for this to eventually be yet another body added on, rather than be the systemic change needed.
Location and concentration remain major concerns. Even though over-concentration and lack of city wide service seemed to be well recognized, the conversation returned to the idea of a single point (city wide) and the false logic of supplying the service where the existing services are (the chicken and egg argument). When asked, “isn’t this already being done or what existing service providers say/are funded to do?” it appeared that almost all of this is already funded and under the purview of existing organizations, thus creating another level of bureaucracy and expenditure.
There remain the downstream problems of lack of detox space, scattered site housing, and an outmoded locational service model (rather than client/home delivery). The City and Province need a full plan and a new model that is clear, goal oriented, acknowledges potential impacts, and is empowered by the will and leadership to make real changes. We are encouraged that the conversation has started by someone other than us, and mentally preparing for the ongoing processes, meetings, and lobbying in which we will have to engage. As always, we are in the conversation for the long haul and willing to engage in the difficult conversations needed to achieve great outcomes.
Help your neighbours make your neighbourhood a greater place to live, work, and play. Join the League and volunteer. Visit us at McCauley.info or on Facebook at McCauley Community League. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (780) 428-5332. We would love to meet you!