Lethbridge community members are invited to take part in community consultation sessions next week to share their perspectives and offer ideas for solutions that would help form part of a community-based drug strategy.
Pre-registrations are now being accepted for a total of four facilitated sessions to be held October 10 and 11 where stakeholders, business people and any other interested community members can discuss how the drug crisis is affecting them. Participants will also be asked to share ideas on constructive solutions to deal with negative effects of the drug crisis.
Each session will be led by facilitators and will accommodate up to 80 participants. Pre-registration is not mandatory but is recommended in order to guarantee a seat. Anyone wishing to pre-register can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Drop-in attendees will be accommodated as space allows. These sessions will comprise the first of three phases of consultation. Additional sessions will be added, if required.
- Wednesday, October 10, 1-3:30 p.m. or 5:30-8 p.m.
Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge (320 Scenic Drive South)
- Thursday, October 11, 1-3:30 p.m. or 5:30-8 p.m.
Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge
At these initial community sessions, participants will be invited to respond to the question What has been the impact of the drug crisis on you? and to offer suggestions to address the issue in a small-table format. Small-format discussion groups will be used so that all participants have an opportunity to share their experiences. The small group format ensures that all voices can share and be heard and contributes to manageable conversations.
In order to encourage a community conversation, City Council members will not participate in these initial sessions. However, the comments and ideas from this initial phase will be compiled into a comprehensive What We Heard report to be presented to City Council later in October and used in the development of a community-driven, solutions-based substance abuse strategy.
The upcoming meetings are part of a broader consultation process, which will include three phases conducted over six weeks aimed at achieving the following objectives:
- Provide opportunities for Lethbridge citizens to discuss their experiences and suggest solutions
- Define and agree upon challenges that can be addressed
- Identify community-based strategies to address these challenges
- Identify any gaps or barriers to implementing these strategies
- Recommend terms of reference that set out the mandate and scope of work for the ad hoc committee established by City Council
The What We Heard report will inform Phase 2 consultations which will involve a two-day community strategy session later in October with up to 40 targeted stakeholders such as EMS, business people, social service providers, police, housing agencies, and harm reduction service providers. These Phase 2 consultations will identify desired responses to the drug crisis, any barriers to implementing those responses, and will produce the elements to create a draft community-based drug strategy.
Phase 3 consultations in early November will include a working group of representatives from key organizations and agencies in Lethbridge who will develop an action plan and draft terms of reference for the Council-appointed committee. The terms of reference will require approval by City Council.
On August 7, City Council voted to hold community consultation sessions aimed at tackling issues arising from the drug crisis. Council also voted to establish a special ad hoc committee as soon as possible to address the challenges facing residents, businesses and others in Lethbridge because of the opioid crisis.
Gerald Gauthier, Communications Consultant
City of Lethbridge