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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.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

SPC Monthly Meeting Minutes (draft) - Sept 25/17

SPC Monthly Meeting Minutes - draft
Sept 25, 2017 - 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Location: Community Futures Office
In attendance (from sign-in sheet): Leah Selk, Diane Wright, Carla Bullinger, Kathie Vilkas, Larry Stranberg, Leah Hartley, David Faubet, Margaret-Anne Enders, Jessica Dunn, Shannon Thom, Anne Burrill, Linda Berg and Nancy Gale.

Accept Minutes & Agenda
During lunch we:

·   Reviewed meeting agenda for Sept 25, 2017
Change order below - put Poverty Reduction Project first on agenda
Motion to approve agenda as revised - MFSC
·   Reviewed meeting minutes from Jun 26, 2017
Motion to approve minutes as presented - MFSC

Poverty Reduction Project
Proposals for project are moving forward (stage two Vancouver Foundation application).

Goal - Reduce the number of people living in poverty (address poverty, rather than only alleviation actions e.g. food bank).

Stage one - review and pull apart local data, update living wage calculation, engaging community partners (including economic sector).

Similar to CTC "process".

We have applied for Vancouver Foundation, Cariboo Strong funds (for projects completed by Dec 31/17), Hamber Foundation, and Community Futures supported this project. We anticipate to hear back from two funding sources by December, and Cariboo Strong very shortly.

We have received a number of Letters of support from community organizations, and have partnered with CCPL for this project currently entitled "THRIVE WL".

Opportunities/Leverage - labour shortages since the wildfire season

Many families who were evacuated could not afford to be without work for two weeks. This is having a lasting effect on our community even to date.

Not everyone living in poverty, is on social assistance - many "normal" families also live close or near to the poverty line.

Handout with more details was also provided (and available upon request).

Cariboo Fires - Summer 2017
We asked participants to share their personal and/or organizations experience, and any lessons learned through having experienced the evacuations first hand.

Linda Berg, Boys & Girls Club:
Logistically many staff could not return - short staffed to get regular programming up and running. Staff is stressed out. Hard to keep kids indoors all day (due to smoke). No current B&G Club policy on what to do in the event of a town wide evacuation (unprecedented event in B&G Club history country wide).

Leah Hartley, City of WL (overall synopsis):
From an Emergency operations centre perspective (two days were most threatening - Jul 7 & 15th). Fires from the north are harder to control than fires from other directions around the city. Evacuation notice was issued due to vulnerabilities and highway capacities and the loss of evacuation routes. Difficult decision to decide which way to send residents (North or South). Depending on the time of day, evacuees were sent in different directions.

During the evacuation, the situation felt very regional - close collaboration with CRD and provincial agencies. Our community was very well supported in terms of firefighting efforts. We were fortunate to not have lost any private structures within the City itself.

Return to City/Welcoming people back - the region wanted it to be a community wide return (including the surrounding areas around the City of Williams Lake).

RCMP & Military presence was very high. The area was secure.

Unexpected aspects of the return. 1) Finding essential services (e.g. a pharmacist), two safe routes, and a functioning hospital before allowing residents to return home.

We have been advised that we are more like Fort McMurray than any other BC community that was evacuated this summer. Recovery will take a long time (not just a few months). More than one year and more effects will likely noticed by next spring - including staff turnover changes.

Recovery efforts are being supported by the Province (less focus on this in past disasters). Cookie cutter process by provincial agencies. Our regional area as a whole is currently deciding what to do (cookie cutter versus locally tailored).

CRD did an amazing job. Non stop summer for their staff.

Long term - Event is being planned by Deb Radolla.
Short term - small to medium size business are in need of assistance (Recovery manager has been hired within the City - in & out job).

The Recovery Manager would like to meet with the SPC and hear from our table.

Anne Burrill, Housing First perspective:
Vulnerable population (e.g. no cell phones). Staff was in contact with all but one participant while evacuated. All the participants returned and are still housed. Some silver linings - some at-risk participants came home in better condition than when they left (unexpected result). Many useful resources were available (24-7), access to medical services etc. Levels of domestic violence are on the slight rise. And note - some women chose to leave abusive relationships as a result of the evacuation (they took the opportunity to pack what they needed and left). Increased financial need by many because of the fires - rent arrears, overdue bills. Usually Housing First requires people to already be homeless but there is currently some funding available (that won't last long).

Shannon Thom, Williams Lake Employment Services (WLES) perspective:
Contract with the Government (therefore policies were in place). Ashcroft office closed first, followed by the 100 Mile House office and the Williams Lake office was only open for a short time before also closing due to the evacuation. Approximately 10% of clients chose not to return. It was a challenge keeping track of where all staff was. Note - some clients who had been laid off, are choosing to not return to their former positions (looking to upgrade).

Leah Selk, Central Cariboo Arts & Culture Society (CCACS):
Typically slow over summer so not much was interrupted. The CCACS is looking to find out what organizations need at this time (too early to know). Trying to find what the new normal is.

Nancy Gale, Child Development Centre:
Communication and capacity was a challenge. Internet and cell phones are not a given. Types of employee supports (E.g. issuing paperwork for EI claims etc). WCB rules limit what can be done etc. Underlying level of fear is normal. After the fact, it would have been great to have been able to provide local services during these events (E.g. childrens activities, parental supports). Disaster planning did not prepare us for what we endured. Post Evacuation - 20% increase in referrals (caseloads are now higher).

Diane Wright, Retiree:
It is our chance to prepare to give back if this happens again. How can Williams Lake best support evacuees from surrounding communities? We can learn much from Prince George and Kamloops who so wonderfully supported our residents.

Carla Bullinger, Communities That Care (CTC):
From the CTC community board notes. Watch the mental health of our staff (caregivers need care too!). Workshop on fire and trauma (but caution of blanket approach). Client notes (IMSS clients) - overwhelmed by the support (not used to any support). Forms - literacy issues affect people's abilities to navigate services. Ensure there is a coordinated response to our needs.

Kathie Vilkas, Williams Lake Hospice:
Not involved with evacuating any clients. Prince George or Kamloops facilities was the alternate facility. Personally, being cutoff from routes (stuck past Miocene) was a challenge in itself. A challenge faced involved cheques - not being able to pay employees was an issue.

David, Changing Directions:
High risk youth are their main clients (social media worked well for this population). Helped clients communicate with Red Cross. Stressful times so monitoring staff for mental health is important. The most vulnerable clients were able to access additional supports (for groceries etc). Most youth have returned.

Margaret Anne Enders, Canadian Mental Health Association:
Many volunteers are starting to experience burnout. Resiliency centre - some "crews" were very helpful, while other crews felt very different. Connect group did not receive enough numbers to go forward - perhaps it is a hard time for people to "commit" (as everything seems still on hold).

Larry Stranberg, Community Futures:
Larry was the only one in the office for more than a week. Personally, evacuated twice. Biggest challenge was keeping in touch with clients. Remote access to server is now available. Back-up contact information is now with multiple staff members.  CF clients - Jul, Aug, Sept - no loan payments due. Most commonly, clients lost revenue streams, lost contracts. Opportunity to re-strategize (organizationally, and community wide). Opportunities is the new word.

Roundtable Updates
More details were sent out via community update emails:

Leah - CCACS New Grants Program - more info to follow
Linda - Boys & Girls House Haunted House - Oct 27 - 29
Carla - Three-year old round up event
Margaret Anne - Orange Shirt day is this Friday

Meeting was adjourned. The next monthly meeting will be held on Monday, October 23rd at 11:30 am at the Community Futures office in Williams Lake BC.

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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