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Councillor wants money spent on mental health, not barriers

By Tom Insinna/Special to the Observer

It has been a very busy time with the meetings regarding the Regional budget being finalized and all the other demands on one’s time. This month has flown by.

One of the issues regarding the budget that I felt very strongly about is the netting that was to be built on an existing structure in St.Catharines, to prevent death by suicide.

I stood before council and requested the funding be halted until an unbiased report could be drafted by staff regarding this venue.

I am an advocate of doing what I can to help those with mental health issues, I however do not believe that spending over $4 million on a structure to prevent death by suicide is the answer.

I would rather see that amount of money being put into the health system to help those with mental health issues before it reaches that point.

There have been many studies about venues and methods employed by people who are intent on dying by suicide. During my previous career I saw these events first hand and yes had to deal with the events associated with it.

I am not saying that barriers to a structure would not help but I believe the money should be put into programs and outreach to prevent someone from getting to that final stage.

I truly believe that a barrier can’t take the place of a person who can talk with and assist someone in mental heath distress. This matter will be brought back to council once a report has been completed and I will keep you informed.

The temporary Chief Administrative Officer has taken up her role at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, her name is Gayle Wood.

Gayle comes to the NPCA after having led several other Conservation Authorities and with many years of experience.

I have met with Mrs. Wood and am very impressed with how she is going about her job. Her term of employment is for five months and it is hoped that we will have a permanent CAO in place at that time.

I have been attending several meetings regarding the selection of the next CAO and the process continues.

I was also able to meet many of the hard working people at the NPCA office in Welland. They are a dedicated group of very educated people who are trying so desperately to do what is right for the environment. Yes, we need to keep the politics out of it for this to succeed.

I was able to tour the water treatment plant in Welland as part of the NPCA Water Source Protection meeting. I was truly amazed at the process and what was involved in order to get safe and clean drinking water to our taps.

I also saw what state the facilities were in and the work that is needed to keep them in good working order.

This only reinforced the need to increase the monies budgeted to the infrastructure as cracks were obvious and cement was deteriorating in the facilities. No, there is no need for alarm. The professionals that work at these facilities are doing a remarkable job; it is just that the life expectancy is nearing an end.

In the month of April and hopefully once a month thereafter, I will be going to locations around the Town of Fort Erie and hosting information sessions.

These are meetings I would like to have with people in our community who may have suggestions as to how they see things and what else could be done to help Fort Erie from a Regional perspective.

I am hoping that we could meet at a local establishment in different parts of the community, have a coffee, tea or water and discuss your suggestions and comments.

I don’t know everything that there is to know about our community and what works and doesn’t work, that’s why I am turning to the people of Fort Erie for input.

I will be making arrangements for locations and times and will ensure that they are posted here so that everyone will be informed. I am looking forward to hearing your suggestions on how we can make Fort Erie better, stay tuned!

A special congratulations to the Town of Fort Erie employees for reaching an incredible milestone, 1 million hours accident free. Well done and keep up the good work.

As always I can be reached at tom.insinna@niagararegion.ca or 905-321-5908.


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