Three years of work on the Progress Plan ended in celebration on March 5 at the Sechelt Indian Band Hall where the plan was presented and wins to date were highlighted.
The plan was funded to the tune of about $294,000 by the Status of Women Canada with the aim to improve the economic health of women on the Coast.
Through much public consultation, five interconnected areas were found to have the most significant impact on women’s economic well-being locally, including: transportation, belonging, income, child care and elder care.
While the plan and its recommendations weren’t formally released until recently, work on the areas highlighted has been ongoing for some time.
Action groups were created to look at ways to influence change, and in the area of transportation, the Coast Car Co-op was started. In the area of income, a self-employed women’s network was formed. A seniors’ planning table was established to look closely at the issue of adult care. New childcare spaces were secured through a partnership between the YMCA and School District No. 46.
BC211 was launched as a way to help connect people to services available locally and lessen feelings of isolation, and new information referral coordinators were hired to connect face-to-face with people living in Halfmoon Bay and Pender Harbour.
While much good has already come as a result of the Progress Plan, members of the Community Resource Centre, which managed the plan in partnership with Sunshine Coast Community Services, will be presenting it to community groups and local governments soon in the hope more action can be taken.
The Town of Gibsons was pointed to as one area already embracing the plan.
“The Town is highly motivated to support the goals and objectives of the Progress Plan,” said Coun. Charlene SanJenko at the event. “Our best approach for our highest purpose for the long term is to incorporate and embed regional issues and priorities such as those identified in the Progress Plan into what we already do to work smarter.”
She said the Progress Plan is now referenced in the Town’s official community plan and that it includes a policy to “create greater opportunities for women in the workforce along with improved access to childcare and transportation.”
“I’m thrilled to see the work that has been done and will continue to be done as we embrace, embed and implement the Progress Plan,” SanJenko added.
Anne Titcomb, with the Community Resource Centre, encouraged all in attendance to find something in the Progress Plan to support personally.
“This is your plan. Now it’s up to the community to embrace the plan in ways they see fit, within their sphere of influence,” Titcomb said.