• John Jantak

MRC Social Development Policy forum draws over 100 regional participants


JOHN JANTAK

About 120 representatives from various organizations throughout the region participated in the 3rd Forum on Social Development Policy to discuss the continuing development and implementation of various programs within the MRC Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

The third forum dedicated to the continuing development and of implementation of a social development policy for the 23 municipalities that comprise the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges drew about 120 participants from across the region to discuss future strategies and projects last Friday, November 28.

The event, held at the Omni-Centre in Pincourt, was a fitting location for the event because of the town’s initiative in launching its own social development policy almost two years ago which is now being used as a model for other municipalities to emulate.

“The participation in the forum clearly demonstrates the commitment of our local players to make sustainable social development a priority in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region. By bringing together stakeholders from the municipal, educational, cultural, community, business and health, we’re striving to make a concerted effort to keep promoting our initiatives,” said Jean Lalonde, MRC Prefect and Mayor of Très St. Rédempteur.

The event, which was live-streamed over the internet courtesy Csur la Télé community television, had representatives from several organizations meet to discuss their initiatives and find a way to work together to deal with issues that affect the entire region such as public transit and affordable social housing.

“The purpose of the forum is to get representatives from the different organizations from the region into one location to meet and discuss what actions they have taken in the previous 18 months,” said Sébastien Legros, Support Coordinator for the MRC’s Sustainable Social Development Committee.

“We’ve had a social development strategy since 2008, but even with this document, we need these forums to determine what policies are needed. Last year, we presented the various resources we have and at this forum we’re presenting projects that have been incorporated. We want to continue in this manner,” added Legros.

Legros, along with Celia Corriveau, Chief of Pincourt’s Social and Cultural Development Committee, acted as animators throughout the day-long event, getting people to speak about the social development requirements in their municipalities and what they’ve done to try to implement new programs. MRC Vice-Prefect and Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal said the region is committed to proceed with the implementation of social development policies because of the many benefits they provide to residents throughout the region despite recently announced provincial government transfer payment cuts to municipalities.

“Despite the context of fiscal austerity, the region has always made social development a priority,” said Cardinal. “This is essential to the vitality and quality of life within our communities. This is a really good occasion to have many people and organizations participate in the same forum. What I really hope is that we can go beyond social development policies and integrate the economic aspect for our territory as well.”

Cardinal added that the municipalities are committed to maintaining and expanding their social development projects and looks forward to working with the Centre Local de Développement (CLD) Vaudreuil-Soulanges tointegrate the economic development aspects for the region with future social development policies.

“When business people are trying to locate a new business, one of the key factors is the community, its social policies and organizations, that defines a community’s cohesiveness,” said Cardinal. Denis Bourque, who is a Canada Research Chair in community organization, also attended to explain the current issues and challenges related to social development in the MRC.

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