Shuniah, Ont. — Shuniah residents have until the end of the month to give municipal leaders a piece of their minds on a wide range of community concerns, including policing, social services, access to health care and services for seniors. The online Community Safety and Well-being Plan Survey, which is available until Sept. 30, is a provincial requirement. The survey’s goal is “to build a sustainable community where everyone is safe, has a sense of belonging and opportunities to participate, and where individuals and families can meet their needs for education, health care, food, housing, income, and social and cultural expression,” a municipal newsletter says. Personal information about respondents won’t be made public, the newsletter added. Paul Greenwood, Shuniah’s chief administrator, said the municipality plans to use the survey information to better co-ordinate how various agencies respond to the needs of people who live in the rural municipality, with a view to ultimately reduce “urgent responses.”“The goal here is to have all sectors and agencies share their long-term planning and performance data so they have a common understanding of local and systemic issues,” Greenwood said Tuesday in an email. The results could provide both social and financial benefits. For example, Shuniah currently pays about $700,000 per year for policing, which is provided through an OPP contract. More than 20 per cent of the cost is based on how often people call police for service, Greenwood noted. “If we can reduce the need for calls for service then we can reduce the cost of policing to taxpayers,” he said. Other areas to be assessed in the survey include child-care availability, access to public transportation, access to food banks and the quality of recreational facilities. The survey asks respondents to rate the level of cleanliness throughout the municipality, and whether or not they feel safe. Rating their level of happiness and describing their overall health is part of the survey. The survey is available on the municipality’s website at shuniah.org.
CARL CLUTCHEY, LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER, The Chronicle-Journal