BARRIE, ONT. -- Stakeholders from across the city of Barrie have come together to create a plan to tackle some of the city's most significant challenges.

The document called 'Our Shared Plan for a Safer Barrie' will be presented to city councillors on Monday, ahead of its full implementation.

"I think right now with COVID-19 being the primary thing in the news, we've kind of put certain things like the opioid crisis to the back, but it is actually worse than it has ever been in our city," said councillor Natalie Harris, who is leading the committee behind the new report. "That's why, right now, bringing forward this community safety well-being plan, we must do this now."

The plan comes as a result of updates to the Police Services Act in January 2019, which mandated all municipalities across the province to create their targeted document focused on risk factors that could impact anyone across the community.

The city surveyed residents, providing those involved with what issues matter most.

"A lot of the key things that people are saying they are concerned with are homelessness, affordable housing, crime and those types of things," said Harris. "So we have divided them into five different themes."

Fifteen stakeholders from across the city came together to create the plan, including:

  • Barrie Association of Volunteer Administrators
  • Barrie Native Friendship Centre
  • Barrie Police Service
  • Barrie Probation and Parole Services
  • Barrie Public Library
  • Canadian Mental Health Association of Simcoe County
  • City of Barrie
  • County of Simcoe
  • Downtown Barrie Business Association
  • Georgian College
  • Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
  • Salvation Army Barrie Bayside Mission Centre
  • Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness
  • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Women and Children's Shelter of Barrie

While there has been growing concern surrounding safety in the city's downtown core, the plan is targeted across Barrie. Harris says many of these issues have been less of a focus due to the pandemic, despite their severity.

"There is concern all over the city with respect to safety and crime, but mostly the downtown and Ward 2 is really the higher level of where we see the opioid crisis and homelessness, so that is definitely something that we focused on a lot," said Harris. "But generally speaking we need to make sure that we adopt this policy for all of the city, and that's what we did."

The plan will be presented to city councillors Monday night by Barrie Chief of Police Kimberley Greenwood. If approved, Harris says the committee behind the plan will begin its implementation immediately.