City of Powell River Council has endorsed a memorandum of understanding with University of Victoria’s school of child and youth care for a community belonging initiative.
At the November 16 city council meeting, director of planning services Jason Gow brought forward the memorandum of understanding, and said he wanted to present information regarding the community belonging initiative.
“The city was approached by the Community Belonging Research Team with a request to partner on an initiative that would work to enhance disabled children’s participation in belonging in Powell River,” said Gow.
He said key members of the team were two professors from the University of Victoria. He added that the research team has requested the city enter into an agreement to formalize the partnership.
“The signed agreement will support the research team in terms of seeking funding,” said Gow. “It’s important to note that city funding is not being requested as part of this partnership other than in-kind activities such as modest staff time and meeting space when needed.
“The scope of the work proposed is limited to an environmental scan of the community at this time. Upon the completion of that, there is an opportunity that the partners could agree to a second phase of this proposal, and this could include a review of city programs coming through the lens of belonging.”
Gow said the value of a project such as this is the opportunity to engage with knowledgeable interest groups that are going to help build policies for the official community plan rewrite.
Councillor Earl Almeida said he believed the city was in the middle of an accessibility study between the city, qathet Regional District and Powell River Public Library. He asked if the proposed project would be able to intertwine.
Gow said that is an obvious overlap.
Councillor Cindy Elliott said the research team has provided a list of things it is going to do, plus a list of things the city is going to do. She asked if there is to be an involvement of the city in the study.
“For example, would there be a project steering committee or advisory committee, and if so, would we be having it at a staff level or a political level?” asked Elliott.
Gow said the staff-to-staff component would include a broad number of staff. He said council could request the involvement to be broader than just staff, but at this point, it hadn’t been proposed.
Elliott said she is excited about the process.
“I belong to a number of groups that advocate for access to education and so forth for people with challenges and there are a number of ways our city has handled things that were a little less than friendly,” said Elliott. “I’m excited about the study and what we can learn to do to make things better in our city.”
Council carried endorsement of the memorandum of understanding unanimously.
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