top of page

Concerns About the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan Committee Structure

Updated: 2 days ago

At last week's General Committee meeting, an amendment to staff recommendations on the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan Committee added "Safe Barrie" to the committee - EBO and our members have great concerns over this addition, among other issues


What appeared to be simply a "housekeeping" amendment put forward by Councillor Kungl -- naming the Council members (including herself and Mayor Nuttall) on the committee and getting more specific about the list of representatives put forward in the Staff Report -- instead added a representative from "Safe Barrie" at the end of the list (a group not referred to at all in the Staff Report).


"Safe Barrie" was a group that formed specifically to oppose the Supervised Consumption Site when it was first proposed in 2019, and have not posted anything on their Facebook page since November of that year - nor has there been any other public activity of which we are aware. The current structure and makeup of this group is unknown, as is the reason why this group was added to the committee when they have been a single-purpose organization (that being: preventing the evidence-based community safety and well-being measures being organized by our public health providers), and no other community stakeholder has been included.


This Committee's structure will be finalized at City Council on Tuesday (TOMORROW) - please reach out to your Councillor and urge them to reconsider this change to staff recommendations.


Thank you to Brandon for sharing their letter with us, below.

 
Brandon Rhéal Amyot, founding member

Dear Mayor Nuttall and Members of Council,


I am writing to you today concerning the proposed Community Safety and Well-Being Plan Committee (Section D, General Committee report) coming to Council for approval on June 4. While this Committee is a welcome step in making Barrie a better place to live, work, and grow for all, I am concerned about the proposed structure of the Committee and how it may prevent the Committee from fully living up to its mandate and serving the community.


First, why is the Simcoe County District School Board invited to select a representative, but not the three other publicly-funded school boards that operate in Barrie? Should consideration not also be given to representation from all these boards? While the minimum requirements of the Community Safety and Policing Act may be met by the one, it seems that having further representation would only further the goals of the Committee in reviewing and informing changes to and the implementation of the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan. Especially as it relates to Barrie’s kids and their current and future well-being. 


More concerningly, the motion contained in the staff report differs from the motion before council in one key way: the inclusion of a representative from Safe Barrie. Safe Barrie is a group that existed for a brief period in 2019 and, it appears, existed for the sole purpose of opposing a Consumption and Treatment Services site in Barrie. After posting from June until September 2019, it appears to have been inactive. How do they meet the minimum requirements in the Act or the need for informed, thoughtful contributions to this Committee? How was this group, of all groups, selected? Especially when it is unclear who actually runs this group, how can Council say that this structure contributes to the Strategic Plan priority of Responsible Governance, which commits to ensuring accountability and transparency? Hand-picking Safe Barrie, when there are many other suitable and engaged groups, seems counter to this Committee’s and Plan’s purported purpose and your own Strategic Plan.


Finally, according to the staff report, “municipalities are required to consider the need to ensure that the Committee is representative [...] having regard for the diversity of the population.” Why then, are there no people with lived experience being recommended? Why no regard for the full diversity of Barrie, including unhoused people or those who use drugs, Black, Indigenous, and racialised people, 2SLGBTQIA+ people, or those who are on ODSP, OW, or other supports and are living with disabilities? I am certain Mamaway Wiidokdaadwin, the Barrie Anti Racism Task Force, The Gilbert Centre, and many others would happily contribute a representative. 


If Barrie City Council wants to have a truly effective advisory committee on community safety and well-being, it ought to take a second look at this structure before moving ahead. To move ahead as it is currently constituted, means those most directly affected by what the Plan is trying to address are denied a seat at the table. Having a seat at the table matters a great deal. Only working with those with lived experience, and a diverse range of experiences, can Barrie move forward in a good way for all.


Sincerely, 


Brandon Rhéal Amyot

Barrie resident




 

Engage Barrie Organization encourages our members and guests to contribute blog posts on a variety of topics that fall under our "equitable, empowered, engaged" umbrella, in the hopes of sharing a variety of perspectives and experiences. Please be aware that the views and opinions expressed by our blog contributors do not necessarily reflect any official position of Engage Barrie Organization.

0 comments

Comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page