Seven councils in North Hastings are teaming up to create a Community Safety and Well-Being plan that the provincial government has said needs to be done by January 2021.

Bancroft, Hastings Highlands, Wollaston, Limerick, Faraday, Carlow/Mayo and Tudor and Cashel have “adopted a collaborative approach that is fairly unique among over 400 Ontario municipalities,” a press release reads.

They gathered information from representatives from 30 organizations in North Hastings on health and safety issues. “This information will help the project identify ways that the whole community can work together to improve safety and well-being for everyone,” they say. “(It) will detail changes in public policy, social programs and resources, and community awareness, interests and activities that can improve public safety, health and well-being, while reducing crime, disorder and social isolation in the area.”

In the release, they say the plan will put an emphasis on health and safety of residents, improving community ties and the reduction of policing and other emergency service costs. “The province has made no commitments to increase funding to support those goals; so this local initiative is focused on doing things better with the resources at hand,” they say in the release.

The next steps in working on this plan will be public consultation which will be done to learn about the challenges residents of North Hastings face and what they want to see put in place to have those issues addressed.