The Regional Intersectoral Committee (RIC) Healthy Active Living sub-committee presented a proposal to introduce a community wellness official at Tuesday evening’s budget meeting.
“We partnered with the City of Moose Jaw in June to develop a forum to discuss the needs of this city with regard to supporting a more healthy and active lifestyle in the community,” said Christine Boyczuk, co-ordinator of the RIC. “One of the outcomes of that forum, among others, was the need for the city to have a dedicated person to promote health and wellness.”
“There are a lot of different options,” said Jeff Fox, chairman of the Healthy Active Living sub-committee, suggesting a half-time position with the city, a part-time position in which the city would share costs with other agencies, or a full-time position that would work beyond just a wellness perspective and also address safety and inclusiveness.
“The rationale (for the position) is that, as the city continues to develop — because we all know the city is growing — we need to be proactive,” he added. “We need to support this strategic plan. We need to keep our city attractive. That’s not just a wellness thing.”
“If we really wanted a community capacity builder, we would like (the full-time position)...” Boyczuk said, “... a person who would work on many different social initiatives.”
Boyczuk said the cost of a full-time employee would be almost $55,000 a year, including benefits.
“I really like the objective of this, but adding additional staff positions is going to be difficult for us,” said Councillor Don Mitchell. “Maybe there are other ways to do this, if we make creative use of existing staff and facilities.”
“Linking everything together ... is really where we’re seeing the gap,” said Fox. “There’s a lot of initiatives in our community. It’s just having the will to organize and co-ordinate everything.”
“The full-time position doesn’t necessarily have to be a city position. It could be shared between many organizations,” he added. “We’re not saying we’re dumping this is the city’s lap. We’re here to partner.”
The committee received and filed the report Wednesday, but chose not to act on it because of the logistics of adding a new staff position, the costs associated with it, and the potential for existing employees to satisfy the need.