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What is The Social Planning Council?


o Monthly Meetings: Attend meetings with guest speakers from within the community &/or presentations at each meeting. We currently meet the fourth Monday of every month (excluding summer) at City Hall with light lunch by donation.

o Facebook & Email Group: Utilize the network on Facebook. Start discussions, learn about & share upcoming community events, projects and meetings. If you don’t use Facebook, then join the email network instead.

o Inform City Council: The SPC provides reports to City Council regularly and the City keeps the SPC informed. Use the network and have your voices heard.

Strategic Direction of the Social Planning Council of Williams Lake & Area:

o Poverty Reduction and the local Living Wage Campaign.

o Community Collaboration and Networking.

o Retention and Succession of residents within the Area.

Community Social Planning:

o Supports communities in building an integrated approach to complex problems that take into account social, economic, and environmental concerns.

o Maximizes the effectiveness of often scarce resources by working to reduce duplication, overlap and competition.

o Provides an ongoing forum for communication, coordination and conflict resolution.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Crime prevention requires more complex response than jail

The Social Planning Council of Williams Lake is a consortium of social service providers, concerned citizens and community educators dedicated to the promotion of social planning and the awareness of social issues based on research, informed practice and a concern for individuals who are experiencing social disadvantage. We would like to provide a concerned counterpoint to some of the views expressed by Walt Cobb in his February 7th column (No consequences for lawbreakers addicts, February 07, 2008).
In his column, Mr. Cobb appears to advocate for a fear-based approach to dealing with adolescents, and people who potentially commit crimes, including people with mental illness and addictions. While his response is no doubt based in a frustration we all feel with the current level of property crime in our community, it is nonetheless , just that an emotional opinion with little substance. We feel strongly that if taken seriously, Mr. Cobb’s get tough stance has the potential to actually do more harm than good by fostering an even deeper prejudice against marginalized and disenfranchised individuals in our community.
To be sure, as service providers, childcare workers, social workers and educators, we work with individuals who struggle with addictions and mental illness, with adolescents who leave unbearable home lives, with individuals with learning and intellectual disabilities like FASD for whom the world is not a welcoming and supportive place. We also recognize the difficulties our public school system faces trying to accommodate this diversity and at the same time having to prove that it is “accountable “ through standardized tests that simply reflect the socio-economic status of the neighborhoods of the schools in which they are conducted and not as Mr. Cobb suggests “showing up” the teachers.
To oversimplify the problem of crime by taking a get tough stance on issues of youth crime and addiction has been tried. The United State has the highest incarceration rate in the world (National Council on Crime and Delinquency, 2006). It is 4 times the world average and several times higher than countries like Iran and Rwanda. It also has a number of very punitive laws for drug related and property crimes, such as the 3 strike law in California. Yet the crime rate in the US continues to be the same. There is no overall reduction in crime suggesting that the fear of going to jail has almost no effect on the crime rate.
It has long been suggested that what does work to reduce crime has been a solid investment in social infra-structure, Things like support for people living in poverty, the availability of drug treatment programs, liberalization of drug laws (where people struggling with addictions are not seen as criminals), adequate health care including mental health care, education and community supports for parents in particular single mothers and finally a strong public education system. The last decade in BC has seen a pronounced erosion of all of these services particularly in rural areas. The fact that in Canada we have some of these services speaks to our relatively low crime rate compared to other nations in the world.
Crime is obviously an emotional issue for people and no helping professional would advocate that there be no consequences for criminal activity, but to simplify it to an issue of getting tougher on young people and people facing addictions and mental illnesses and to point the finger at teachers and social workers as enabling this to happen is both counter productive and irresponsible. We hope this letter begins to help people understand that there are other less reactionary solutions to the problem.
--Submitted by Jay Goddard, Vice-Chair

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Imagine Williams Lake - CVI Assessment a success!

We are pleased to report that we had over 75 participants at our CVI assessment meeting on January 23. Feedback to date has been very positive. Those who were unable to come to the session are welcome to complete the online survey until February 6. You can find it on the City of Williams Lake website: www.williamslake.ca.
We expect to receive the report in mid March and will be working hard to distribute it widely to the community. The follow up session will be held April 9.

Contact Us

The Social Planning Council is made up of volunteers from the community. Many of us work in social services agencies or also volunteer for other organizations.

Our Mailing Address is Box 20045, Williams Lake BC V2G 4R1

To reach the Society Coordinator Jessica Dunn please email spc-coordinator@xplornet.com or call 250-243-2126

To reach the Communities that Care Project Manager Carla Bullinger please email carla@caribooliteracy.com or call 250-267-8249

To reach the THRIVE Williams Lake Project Manager Anne Burrill please email anne@changemakerconsulting.ca or call 250-267-7211

To reach the current SPC Chair Larry Stranberg please email happytrails@cfdccariboo.com or call 250-392-3626