by Colin Smith
The findings of the Community Needs Assessment study done in Morinville this summer will become part of the 2020 budget deliberations after Council received the final report at its October 8 regular meeting.
“This report provided a clear picture of the social issues and needs of our stakeholder groups for our community,” said Mayor Barry Turner.
“We are presently assessing the best path forward by developing an implementation strategy based on available resources,” he said.
“This will be included in the 2020 budget. Any future decisions required to direct Administration to implement specific activities will be made by Council at the appropriate time.”
The report was produced by Applications Management Consulting Ltd. Which was commissioned by the Council to identify local strengths and resources available in Morinville, focusing on the capabilities of the community and provide recommendations to address potential service gaps.
The consultants based their report on research including community surveys, organization and agency meetings, a Council workshop and Senior Leadership Team workshops.
The report put forward ten recommendations. Among these are improving awareness of programs and activities; creating more for social service organizations to collaborate; working to promote safe and inclusive communities; supporting childcare availability; and advocating for mental health and addiction supports.
In addition, the report recommends that Morinville support the availability of affordable and subsidized housing; encourage volunteerism; continue to support social service organizations; continue to engage with residents and stakeholders; and undertake additional research and analysis.
The consultants also came up with three options for making the most of social service resources.
One of these options is a community hub, designed to bring a number of service agencies with shared visions and common goals under one roof to provide a range of client services.
The other options are addressing accessibility barriers in current facilities and helping organizations to better utilize their current spaces for meetings, programming, and storage.
“The Community Services Department will continue to work with the community stakeholders to address the recommendations identified in the report and provide support where appropriate,” said Turner.