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Safety coalition to hold strategic planning session

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The Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition is seeking the community’s help in setting goals and priorities for the future, and will be hosting a strategic planning session on Tuesday, March 31 at La Place Rendez-Vous.

“We need to know what the communities feel are the indicators for risk, for health, for our safety movement,” RRVSC administrative co-ordinator Grace Silander said yesterday.

“By taking their thoughts and wishes into consideration, we can better focus our priorities and our actions we are going to need,” she explained.

“We deliver programs to what we see, taking Ontario statistics and statistics we can get from our local hospitals and things like that, but is there other things municipalities, First Nations’ communities, citizens feel be should be focusing on?” she wondered.

Silander noted a five-year strategic plan is designed to identify the areas the district feels the RRVSC should be focusing on. And in order to accurately reflect this, they want involvement from all sectors.

As such, everyone is invited to attend the strategic planning session March 31.

“What we have done is send invitations to our partners we’ve been involved with in the past, and will focus on industry to make sure they will have representation,” she noted.

“But people that are interested in safety at all, or feel that they have something that should be brought up, we want them there,” Silander stressed. “We want them at the table because we want to hear from everybody.”

Silander said the invitation also is open to those who live outside the RRVSC’s catchment area (such as International Falls, Kenora, or Dryden), who will be able to offer an outsider’s perspective.

While the RRVSC has done numerous strategic planning sessions and gotten feedback with surveys and the like over the years, this is the first where they’ll be actively appealing to a broad range of communities for input since the World Health Organization conference here in 2002, noted Silander.

“We want to get some more input to make sure we’re still focusing in the right direction, or should we be picking up on some other things as we’re moving along?” she said.

“The biggest things are efficiency and effectiveness—that’s what we’re looking for.”

The strategic planning session will run from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Coffee and lunch will be included.

The session will be facilitated by Jim Cumming, and feature Wendy French of Safe Communities

Canada.

“We’re hoping to keep it fun,” said Silander. “We’re hoping this is going to be a fun event, where people are just going to open up and put everything on the table.”

All attendees’ comments will be recorded—and even if they are not discussed at the strategic planning session, “we’ll put it on the list,” pledged Silander.

Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by March 24, either by calling Silander at 274-3261 ext. 4500 or e-mailing her at g.silander@rhcf.on.ca

In related news, the RRVSC still will be changing its name to Safe Communities Rainy River District, as first reported last fall.

Silander explained she’s still working through all the paperwork and legal intricacies a non-profit organization has to go through to make a legal name change.

But she stressed the decision to make the change has been made and it will go through, although it may not be official until next year.

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