OUTLOOK - Back in early October, two people involved in leading workshops that are centered on community safety and well-being came to Outlook to hold an event that wound up producing a high number of thoughts from those who were present.
On Tuesday, January 23, the workshop held a 'Part Two' of sorts when Toby Esterby, the COO of the Saskatoon Community Clinic, returned to town to gather with the same group of citizens to continue shaping and discussing what will eventually be Outlook's own Community Safety and Well-Being Plan.
Absent from this return meeting was presenter Colleen Christopherson-Cote, the community co-lead for the Evaluation and Analysis working group of the SSHRC-funded Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE).
Brought to town by recreation director Megan Anthony, the event continued the work that was done last fall and delved deeper by highlighting four priority areas of concern and discussing key bullet points and what needed improvement in those areas, consisting of Health, Housing, Economic Growth, and Transportation.
Breaking into smaller groups and visiting tables around the Civic Centre that had blank paper brandishing the title of each area, participants added key ideas and ways to potentially improve the quality of each of them. Such an exercise got people talking about the possibilities and asking 'What If?' questions; 'How do X and X organizations work together to pull off THIS initiative? Can THIS be done if THESE people do THIS?'
Some of the notes made by people at each area included:
Transportation: "Newcomers to Canada living in Outlook need transportation until they can get a driver's license"; "Community Ride Share with volunteer drivers"; "Community Bus with regular trips to city and errands around Outlook".
Housing: "Shortage of lots to build on"; "Incentives to builders for affordable housing"; "More options for modular homes"; "Grants to create legal suites in homes".
Health: "Doctor retention - why do they come? Why do they leave?"; "Do we need another medical clinic?"; "Develop a 'retreat' in our area"; "Limitations on mental health - people may not be comfortable approaching a counsellor that they know to chat one on one".
Economic Growth: "Winter Festival"; "Bring back the bridge"; "Agri-Tourism - u-pick, corn maze"; "Youth/teen programming in arts, culture, and music"; "Work with the schools to develop or enhance a workplace experience program"; "Foster/support current food insecurity programs".
Of note during many discussions were both the river valley and Outlook's regional park, which were described as beautiful, but they're also seen as a very underutilized area with a lot of untapped potential to be discovered.
It's expected that a draft of Outlook's Community Safety and Well-Being Plan will be completed and made available to people in the group by the end of February.
Work in establishing these community safety and well-being plans is also being carried out in Estevan, Nipawin and Humboldt.