On Wednesday evening — July 21 — the City of Wetaskiwin provided a virtual update on actions taken so far to assist the community’s vulnerable humans. Hosted by the Leduc, Nisku, and Wetaskiwin Regional Chamber of Commerce, the update was both lively and well-attended — despite being held during the supper hour.
Paul Edginton, General Manager of Community and Protective Services, was first to provide an update on behalf of the City and spoke about the “ecosystem approach” being fostered by the City and local/regional partners.
“Our ecosystem – in the context of how we come together to address this issue – is in its infancy and needs some nurturing,” stated Edginton during the July 21 community update. “We need to spend time creating the foundations and structures to ensure that our community can start to get to know each other, start building relationships and establishing trust, and start discussing these complex issues in a way that respects differing views or opinions in our community. We cannot thrive until all of us come together – all of us.”
Encouraging collaboration — both throughout the community and across the region — is a critical component in finding solutions that fit our community. This means coming together to share knowledge and expertise, as well as leaning into understanding by truly listening to each other.
“I’m really frustrated with the division going on right now through the other agencies and community members who are hearing one side of the story or believing what social media is sharing as truth — which it absolutely isn’t,” said City of Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam during the update. “Creating a division between what the City is or isn’t doing isn’t going to (help in finding solutions). I welcome anyone to sit on any of those coalition boards (or) FCSS board positions. All the work that we are doing within the community is within your grasp to be a part of as well. Being a keyboard warrior isn’t going to change the dynamics of the City.”
The City has invited anyone interested to join the Guiding Coalition of Homelessness, the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, or apply to be an FCSS Board member. These groups each play an important role in community safety and wellbeing, and all attendees are welcome to share their stories, experiences, and suggestions for how our community can tackle the issues plaguing Wetaskiwin today.