The Alix Mirror Wellness Supports Centre is one step closer to being established after council agreed to develop a lease agreement with the local group.
This regional organization is a collaboration of several local organizations including RCMP, FCSS, Bashaw School, the food bank, Adult Learning Centre and more, as it originates from Bashaw.
Many other regions have been envious of Bashaw’s success with the program and various grants as it started less than 10 years ago.
Jill Hillman and Jackie Northey came to present alongside engaged members of the community who sit on this organization.
“By working together with a fresh group of fresh ideas can bring more resources because the big towns are getting all the money and the little towns are being left to fend for themselves,” said Hillman.
The organization felt that Alix was more than ready as a ‘developed community’ for this type of programming.
Northey found Alix community members to be enthusiastic about the project.
“We were really impressed with their passion for your community and what they wanted to have happen in your community,” said Northey.
“We were excited because we knew we wanted to branch out and work towards helping what was happening in Alix as well. Quite frankly, I’ve worked with volunteer Alberta and other rural communities, Alix is the first community I have ever seen with that much energy around wanting to make a difference in your community.”
The councillors felt that since Bay 1 of the Railway House was sitting empty and still consuming some utility charges, this would help those costs and get people through the door.
This program has also been beneficial when attracting grants as high levels of government are keen on collaboration when possible.
In 2017, Sgt. Holliday of the Bashaw detachment approached Adult Learning and FCSS and asked what could be done to work together.
“We were recognizing that every time there was an issue everybody was kind of siloed and not knowing,” said Northey.
“Our intention was to serve the area that is the RCMP detachment and Alix falls in that.”
Their goal is to work together to address the issues each individual has in different areas like Donalda, Alix, Ferintosh and Meeting Creek.
This can be anything from mental health and addiction issues to a lack of essential resources like food and everything in between.
This Hub will have a common referral sheet that people fill out.
Once completed, the navigator who welcomes people at the door will get them into the proper channels and services they need.
“So what is happening in Bashaw is quite remarkable because we are a small town and from a rural perspective we are helping ourselves,” said Northey. “We are not waiting for somebody to deliver services in our community when we can develop it right in our community itself.”
A mask of confidentiality is also established since there are so many services offered.
The presenters even encouraged a relaxed environment for people of all ages and backgrounds to co-exist.
This hub is not dependent upon funding but they did ask the council about continuing to keep their base utilities paid.
They agreed that anything over the base charges would be reimbursed.
Potential resources and programs once up and running include home support, a community kitchen, mental health supports, meals on wheels, a food bank, parenting assistance, Family Wellness Program, Tools for School and much more.
Alix could also see a paid psychologist and addictions and mental health worker paid under Alberta Health Services.
Street light safety
Jody Drocher came to council with concerns about some dark spots along 48th and 49th Street and at the nearby playground.
Drocher moved to Alix six months ago and has noticed how these dark spots could encourage rural crime as he and neighbours have already experienced ‘people checking door handles.’
The new Alix resident sent in a letter to council formally asking to have two new street lights installed at the north end of both streets.
“There is nothing in that back corner,” began Drocher. “I’ve put my own light up in my backyard to light it just because we have had people checking door handles and stuff like that happening so it just gives us a little better view.”
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White mentioned that another person that had come into the office has also shared the same views as Drocher although they did not submit a letter or ask for council attention.
Mayor Rob Fehr agreed saying, “It is dark, I do concur.”
CAO White did chat with Fortis, the electric company that services the area and they determined that in order to do what is asked, it would be an estimated $14,500 for the entire project without conducting an indepth engineering study.
“The reason for that is that one existing pole up there they said has everything on it. It has a transformer, guide wires, everything so they can’t put a light on it so it would require three additional poles to be put up for two streetlights,” said CAO White.
A true request for decision will be brought up at a future meeting.
Council directed administration to have Fortis create a detailed street light design report and subsequent pricing for the project.