United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) Council has approved hiring two consultants to develop a Community Safety and Well-Being Plan for the region.

Provincial legislation mandates municipalities to develop the plans by Jan 1, 2021.  The objective of the plans is to ensure protocols and procedures are in place for law enforcement and other agencies to assist various segments of the population in need.

Consultants Stephanie Gray and Jane Torrance are from Lanark County and have previous experience with municipal government, police services boards, and emergency planning.

It will cost $20,340 to have Gray and Torrance develop the plan for all eight municipalities in the counties.

Gray said it is up to the counties and the municipalities to determine what the plan should contain.

“You are the main champions of the plan,” she told council at the June 26 meeting.

La Nation Mayor François St-Amour asked if province provided funding for the plans

Gray said some had been available in Lanark County through one of the municipalities that had a police services board and that the eligibility for grants would depend on the municipality.  She said the grant application period has already closed for 2019.

Hawkesbury Mayor Paula Assaly asked if the local plan would be generic for all eight municipalities.

It would be whatever you need it to be,” said Gray, who added that most places are taking a regional approach.

UCPR Chief Administrative Officer Stéphane Parisien said the intent was to have a regional plan but he is open to adaptations.  He said a regional approach would encompass comments from all of the municipalities.

Assaly asked about the possibility of integrating poverty reduction efforts into the plan.  Gray said that it could be done.

Gray and Torrance were already beginning to meet with local stakeholders for the development of the plan.

Council agreed to bypass the regular procurement policy in order to hire the consultants to develop the Community Safety and Well-being Plan.