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HomeNewsResults of joint North Hastings Community Safety and Well-being survey released

Results of joint North Hastings Community Safety and Well-being survey released

From July to December of last year, the seven municipalities in North Hastings worked together to survey over 300 people in the community.

“This sample was not random, or intended to reflect the overall population of North Hastings. The aim was to explore some of the unique views of individuals most directly affected by risk factors in the region,” explains Dr. Meara Sullivan, who was brought on to analyze the data and report the findings. “While the responses are not representative, the views are important and the contribution from a large group of people across North Hastings is invaluable.”

290 adults and 23 youth were surveyed, with Bancroft making up 35-percent of those people. Hastings Highlands residents accounted for 30-percent, Carlow-Mayo Township and Wollaston Township came in at 10-percent, while Faraday Township, Limerick Township and Tudor and Cashel each accounted for five percent of the responses. 65-percent of respondents were between 45 and 74, with 75-percent of the overall respondents being female. 10-percent identified at LGBTQ2+. All of the youth that responded were between the age of nine to 15 and are a part of North Hastings Children’s Services Youth Advisory Board.

At 30-percent, the adult respondents said that nature and people were the most liked parts of their community with small town/rural life coming in close behind at 25-percent. The youth noted that people and friends were the most important part of the community. People also factored into what they believe is the most concerning part of the community with 65-percent of youth respondents saying that people’s behaviour and attitudes were the most concerning part of their community. As for the adults, they see substance abuse and lack of affordable housing as the main problems in the area.

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The survey was also broken down into results by municipality with 35-percent of Bancroft’s respondents saying they liked the people in the community the most. “There’s people to meet and you’re not alone,” one respondent said. 25-percent added nature as one of the things they like in the community. 30-percent said drugs were the main problem the Town is facing, which was the highest mark for any of the seven municipalities.

Nature was the most-liked aspect of Hastings Highlands, with 35-percent noting that on their surveys. “The quiet and natural environment is so important,” a respondent said. The people and small town/rural feel were the other popular parts of the municipality. 10-percent of respondents noted homophobia as a problem in Hastings Highlands. No respondents in other municipalities noted that as an issue. “There have been far too many protests against supporting them,” one person said about the LGBTQ2+ community. Another concern respondents thought of was drugs, with 15-percent of respondents saying they see that as an issue. The lack of youth programs was also noted, with people saying more would help improve the community.

There must be something in the water in Carlow-Mayo Township because 40-percent of respondents find the community to be friendly. 15-percent of respondents were worried about Hermon Public School possibly closing permanently. Other than those from Carlow-Mayo, no other respondents were worried about any of the other schools in the area. “The possibility that our small local school which houses our wonderful library will be forced to close in the next few years,” a respondent said.

Half of the respondents from Wollaston liked the small town/rural feel of the township. “As a small rural community, it is not as “busy” as places in the GTA,” one person said in their survey. With that in mind, 30-percent of respondents noted people as their favourite part of the community, with another 25-percent saying friendliness is Wollaston’s best feature. Despite that, respondents noted that they’re concerned about divisions amongst the community, specifically mentioning “infighting.” One respondent suggested finding “a common goal to get along” would be helpful to improving the community.

Faraday Township’s respondents also like the people that make up their community with half marking that down as one of the things they like most about the area. The lack of affordable housing was the primary concern for respondents, with that being marked down as the primary concern. Another concern was local politics with 20-percent of Faraday respondents selecting that as one of their choices. “It would be useful to have council meeting agendas posted well before the meeting,” one respondent noted.

Multiple people returning surveys from Limerick Township said they like the quiet they get by living in the community. 60-percent noted they like the nature of the area. “The possibility of the mine opening in Limerick,” one respondent said about what concerns them. 20-percent of respondents agreed and put mine/quarry pollution as one of their main concerns. Respondents said better policing could help their community, with 25-percent choosing that, with one person saying they want to better understand who to call for non-911 calls.

Respondents in Tudor and Cashel Township said they also love nature in the community but are frustrated by local politics. 20-percent of the people that returned a survey from the township noted that. “Lack of knowledge of what goes on within the Township – what the responsibilities of staff and council are,” one respondent said. 40-percent said that a change in local politics would make things better, with some saying younger council members would be a good start.

At the end of the survey, it’s noted that residents, professionals, agency executives, and people with lived experience are providing advice on the substance of the survey results. “In the Spring months ahead, small task groups will research what the region can do to reduce key risk factors and threats to safety and well-being, and upon completion of early drafts of the Community Safety and Well-being Plan, the public will be invited, once again, to make suggestions for improving it,” they say. “Each municipal Council will be asked to review and adopt the report in the fall of 2020, well in advance of January 1st, 2021, the date by which each municipality must have a Community Safety and Well-being Plan in place.”

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