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Everyone wants to live in a healthy community – a place where people can find meaningful work, good friends and neighbours, affordable homes, personal safety, recreation and leisure and social support. Residents of St. Paul and Area are fortunate in being able to lay claim to most of these advantages. Our community is a great place to live and work.

The Healthy Alberta Communities concept has been active in St. Paul for many years. The idea behind the initiative is to leverage resources that already exist in St. Paul to create a community that offers and encourages healthy choices. Other Canadian and international communities have demonstrated that this approach can have a positive and long-term impact on the health of their residents. Our goal has been to develop, implement and evaluate a uniquely Albertan approach that can then be adapted by other communities across the province.

The Healthy Alberta Communities Initiative brought people of St. Paul and Area together to talk about those things that support or take away an individual’s ability to be healthy. The result is this draft Sustainability Plan. The plan represents the resident’s commitment to building and sustaining a health community. It provides a basis for defining the actions needed to achieve that goal.

Creating the Plan

project-history1In September 2007, Healthy Alberta Communities held an action-oriented workshop using an approach called Analysis Grid for Environments Linked to Chronic Disease (ANGEL-CD) workshop. The workshop brought together residents from different sectors and backgrounds to discuss the environmental influences on chronic disease in the St. Paul area and to identify three priority areas where Healthy Alberta Communities could invest it’s resources to effect meaningful change.

Champions for Change: St. Paul 2020 is a follow-up to this workshop and an initiative created in response to the first priority identified, Community Beautification. Once the Champions for Change Board was established they took on the task of bringing the plan to life. That board continues their work with the help of many sub-committees focused on the areas and projects.

Our Coordinating Committee was then established, bringing Community Futures and Alberta’s Iron Horse Trail as active partners. Creating Healthy and Sustainable Communities, a workshop offered in November 2007 by Dr. Avi Friedman, was the launch event for Champions for Change, St. Paul 2020. The workshop consisted of three lectures dealing with the design of communities in which citizens are encouraged to adopt healthy and active lifestyles, establishing environmental, social and economic principles and developing strategies for urban renewal of the core area of our community.

In the fall of 2008, a Steering Committee was created to guide the development of a community vision and is composed of key stakeholders and champions from our community. Alberta Culture & Community Spirit has supported the Steering Committee in its work. The committee developed a community consultation process, which provided many opportunities for residents of St. Paul to provide input into the Champions for Change, St. Paul 2020 initiative. Over the next sixteen months, input was sought through the following consultation activities:
  • Steering Committee mini survey (January 2008)
  • Public Visioning Workshop (June 2008)
  • Key Strategic Priority Consultations (October 2008)
  • An online community survey Online (November-December 2008)
  • A Telephone survey (February 2009)
  • Consultations with three sectors: youth, sports and recreation and people with developmental disabilities (March 2009)

project-history2In October 2008, the Community Coordinator, Healthy Alberta Communities, engaged an Edmonton consultant, Community Services Consulting Ltd. to assist her and the Steering Committee. The consultant’s tasks were to analyze the data obtained and identify common themes, potential goals and strategies, ideas for a vision statement and other information that will be of help in drafting this Sustainability Plan.

The consultant held a planning workshop with the Steering Committee November 17, 2008 and met again with the committee January 29, 2009 to present a draft template of the Sustainability Plan. In March 2009, the work of the Steering Committee was completed, and the consultant was asked to complete this plan as far as he could. A new approach will be required to implement this sustainability plan.

Community Vision

The following community vision and guiding principles were developed from the summary material gathered during the extensive consultations. They were then presented as a draft to the Steering Committee at its meeting on January 29 and then formally adopted on May 05.

People of different ages, backgrounds and interests are drawn to St. Paul as a place to live or visit because it is an attractive and friendly community, a significant regional hub, that offers a variety of pursuits and a wide range of services in a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

Guiding Principles

  • That decisions build on the existing and potential strengths of the community
  • That all potential impacts of a decision be examined before going ahead, to ensure that proposed goals will be achieved
  • That every attempt be made to obtain buy-in to decisions
  • That decisions incorporate long-term as well as short-term activities
  • That the health of the town and its residents is the driving force (physical, social, environmental and economic)
  • That success indicators be tied to activities proposed and the achievement of the community vision
  • That plans remain focused but flexible to changing conditions, needs