Building a Healthier Community was the subject of a March 4 workshop facilitated by Betty Brown of Interior Health Authority. Second of a year long series sponsored by Angelique Wood, RDOS Area G representative, the session dealt with Five Pillars: physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco reduction, healthy built environment and priority populations. Wood said “the purpose is to examine ways for us to live healthier, more fulfilling lives in our community.”
Brown, an experienced discussion leader with an effervescent personality, skilfully guided the group of about two dozen in an animated exchange of suggestions, ideas and questions.
It was suggested at the outset there is a need for a better understanding of the make up of the Hedley population. Some of the people, it was observed, may come to the community because they want to be left alone. Others may not know how to participate in community life. To engage people effectively, it would be beneficial to have a greater awareness of the demographic breakdown.
Several individuals expressed a desire for more interaction with the Upper Similkameen Indian Band. Discussion revealed considerable consensus on this and it was suggested community leaders initiate discussions with band leaders to foster cooperation on issues of common concern and interest.
Another item that generated a good deal of discussion was the need for a community newsletter. Interest was strong and there is certain to be further consideration of this idea.
There was also general agreement that community organizations such as Hedley Historical Museum, Seniors Centre, the Community Club, Hedley Grace Church and Fire Department could work together to achieve common objectives such as generating income and attracting members.
In the committee discussions, two groups argued for a paid or volunteer coordinator to assist the community to achieve important objectives. It was agreed that community organizations would be asked to send a representative to the next meeting. One subject to be discussed is the former ball park, now Unity Park. Work is needed to develop it into a community park with a walking trail and green space.
A pleasant surprise for participants was the presence of Sergeant Barry Kennedy of the Princeton RCMP Detachment. He answered a number of questions, including what the force will do when small medical grow ops become illegal at the end of this month. He replied that direction on this will have to come from Health Canada.
Angelique Wood commented after the workshop, “it is important that we come together as a group and share our resources, ideas and brilliance to create a new future for the health of our children and planet. Although we didn’t agree on everything today, we listened to each other and as a group, we took some substantive steps in a positive direction.”