State of the Town Address: Part 8

We have operated on fact in all areas of responsibility and where possible we are open to sharing information.

Advocacy efforts

  • Departmental actions with MACA, Finance, ENR, and Lands
  • Advocacy to get GNWT to take responsibility for tax arrears and leased lot clean-up and Advocacy for GNWT joint responsibility on landfill issue
  • Mini inspection and results, successes
  • MACA – note inspection and MACA advice
  • AITPP – the importance of owning our own information, and for every staff past, present and future to know their personnel information is held only by the Town.
  • Opening negotiations on new IORL contract on Quarry that is fair to Town residents and businesses

Post Covid-19 Report

The Town of Norman Wells played a pivotal role in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic waves 1 through 4. The Town is a basic needs provider in the community along with the Regional GNWT office EOC, RCMP and the Health Center frontline workers. With the support of the community at large we were able to get through the Emerging Wisely stages and the fourth wave containment within one month.

We will be performing an in-depth analysis of the process as it played out in our community which will include what worked, what did not work and what should we put in place for the future.

We have listed for Council some areas which will need to be in place as we head into the winter months.

Volunteers:

Volunteers played a vital role as security teams, contact tracing, food hamper preparation and delivery, CERC committee participation, and much more. We should do the following:

  • Record a listing of individuals willing to be participants in a volunteer pool should this need arise again
  • Ensure our volunteers and staff are not overloaded in these situations

Housing Needs:

We were able to through partnership with Imperial provide housing for positive individuals that was close to the required supports. Some unique housing gaps were identified as containment played out. We should do the following:

  • Continue our housing partnership with Imperial for at least the winter months, as a short-term solution
  • Look to advocating for appropriate housing options in Town
  • Look to partnering and helping facilitation of the building and operation of appropriate housing options in Town, for longer term solutions
  • For example, a municipality can apply for FCM grants for sustainable affordable housing as follows:
  • New construction of sustainable affordable housing
  • Amount

Financing (a combination of a grant and a loan) for up to 20% of total eligible project costs 

Up to a maximum combined financing of $10 million
50% grant and 50% loan
*Northern providers are eligible for a 60% grant.

  • Norman Wells Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw allows for the development of creative housing solutions 
  • The Town’s Economic Development Committee could network with potential developers who have had success building affordable housing with Federal support, invite participation in Economic Development Conference

Federal Incentives

  • National Housing Strategy (NHS): a 10-year, $40-billion strategy announced in 2017 to be primarily administered by the CMHC. 
  • National Housing Co-Investment Fund: the $15.9-billion fund aims to ensure that existing rental housing is not lost to disrepair and to develop new affordable housing integrated with social support and services.
    • $4.7 billion will come in the form of direct financial contributions with the remaining $11.2 billion offered as low-interest loans.
  • Rental Construction Financing Initiative (RCFi): the $3.75-billion, four-year Rental Housing Construction Initiative provides low-interest loans to encourage the construction of rental housing across Canada.
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Incentives: Predevelopment Seed Grants and Loans (max $150,000 grant balance up to $500,000 loan).

Mental Health Supports:

This was noted as a visible and invisible issue in the community exacerbated by the isolation created by the containment regulations. The Town was able to provide programs which supported families and individuals through at home virtual activity. We should do the following:

  • Continue the supports already offered
  • Endeavor to facilitate as many as is possible programs and events
  • Create neighborhood support communities
  • Create contact lists of the vulnerable, where permission given
  • Advocate for the working mental health supports i.e.: counselling we require on the ground, addictions, suicide, domestic violence, anger management
  • Work on grant available grant supports with community partners for example:

Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund

The Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund is formerly known as the Innovation Strategy. It provides national funding to support the delivery of innovative, community-based programs in mental health promotion for:

  • Infants
  • children and youth
  • young adults
  • caregivers of children and youth

Funding supports priority groups susceptible to mental health inequities, such as:

  • First Nations, Inuit, and Métis
  • LGBTQ2+
  • newcomers and refugees
  • people with other socio-economic risk factors

Funding helps to generate new knowledge about what programs and policies work, for whom and in what contexts. The aim is to:

  • address health equity
  • build protective factors
  • reduce risk factors at the individual and community levels
  • address the underlying determinants of health at the population level

An innovative approach

This innovative approach to mental health promotion focuses on 6 key characteristics:

  1. support for social innovation
  2. investment in large-scale projects
  3. support, capacity-building, and flexibility for projects
  4. special focus on knowledge development and exchange; and evaluation
  5. emphasis on multi-sectoral partnerships from within and outside the health sector
  6. spirit of continuous learning and critical reflection

Childcare:

We have a shortage of available, dependable childcare in the community. When the pandemic hit the essential workers in town required a childcare lifeline as many were scrambling to find safe and appropriate care for their children. As the economy recovers from the heavy impact of the pandemic, we have learned just how essential this service is. We should do the following:

  • Research feasible business childcare models and required financial supports for each model i.e.:
  • Drop-in childcare
  • At home childcare
  • Subsidized childcare
  • Before and after school care models
  • Partnership models with other community associations, businesses, and corporations
  • Develop and maintain a childcare registry
  • Advocate for Territorial supports as Provinces financially supported childcare during pandemic

Food:

We have been actively providing food support programs to the community over the pandemic. Each program has been well received, supported, and utilized. We should do the following:

  • Facilitate a food bank association
  • Set up a safe space for food distribution
  • Support and further develop the community garden initiative
  • Continue fund development in this area as in we are already networked with Food Banks Canada

a national charitable organization dedicated to helping Canadians living with food insecurity. We support a network of Provincial Associations, affiliate food banks, and food agencies that work at the community level to relieve hunger.

  • Join the Good Food Organizations program which aims to increase the capacity of community food security organizations to offer healthy and dignified food programs in their communities.
    The program offers resources, customized training, grantsan annual conference, and opportunities to network and promote shared priorities.
    By working together through a set of shared principles, the Good Food Organizations initiative connects like-minded organizations across Canada and beyond in a collective commitment to achieving a healthy and fair food system.