Sylvan Lake’s Social Master Plan offers ‘tangible’ goals

Sylvan Lake has identified what kind of community it wants to be and how it hopes to get there in a new plan.

Sylvan Lake has identified what kind of community it wants to be and how it hopes to get there in a new plan.

The Social Master Plan approved by town council earlier this week outlines eight components that create a healthy quality of life.

They include creating an environment where households are able to meet basic needs and residents have the support and services required to maintain a healthy lifestyle and meet physical and mental health needs.

The plan also envisions a community where residents are engaged, have strong, healthy relationships, a common sense of purpose and are able to enjoy the lake and their natural surroundings.

Specifically, the plan outlines three-year goals, led by the opening of an urgent-care centre, for which the community has been lobbying relentlessly for many years. It also proposed that a mental health professional be recruited to provide short-term subsidized support for residents.

Joanne Gaudet, town communications officer, said the plan came out of extensive public consultation and work that was done through previous social needs assessments.

Many of the goals have been on the town’s radar screen for some time and work is already underway to bring them about. For instance, one goal is to promote community involvement through block parties.

Gaudet said the town has already put together a package to help people organize them.

The plan is meant to provide “specific” and “tangible” goals that can be measured as part of an evaluation that will take place in three years to gauge progress.

Building more parks, trails, specialty playgrounds and installing more bike lock-ups are other recommendations.

On the transportation front, the town plans to conduct a feasibility study to see what options are available for low-income residents and seniors. A public transportation system with links to Red Deer will also be pursued.

Promoting crime prevention strategies and ensuring more counselling help is available for families are also planned.

To help boost local volunteer efforts, the plan suggests hiring a co-ordinator to work with local groups and residents.