Houston adopted its Health and Wellness Charter at the April 19 council meeting.
According to the document, the Charter spells out the vision for health and wellness in the community and focuses the efforts of the District and service groups in town to achieve those goals.
The Charter outlines 10 goals including access to education, food security, sense of belonging, transportation, access to health care, environmental quality, housing, employment opportunities for youth, support for low-income people and access to information.
It also lists eight barometers that measure health: housing, transportation, environment, economy, recreation, food security, safety and cultural vitality.
The Charter was developed by the Community Health, Education and Social Services Committee (CHESS), in which Coun. Jonathan Van Barneveld participates.
“One thing that was noted through the process — because this is a health and wellness charter, it actually, potentially, could be the first of its kind in the province, and who knows about Canada,” said Van Barneveld. “Because we took the wellness approach, and really broadened it out to a community mindset, apparently that was very innovative.”
“We’re trailblazers and trendsetters, as we usually are in this town,” joked Van Barneveld to the laughter of councillors.
Van Barneveld highlights that the Charter is a “living document,” which suggests that it can change in the future.
Coun. John Siebenga suggested that he would like more participation of First Nations, and emphasized the participation of the religious in the Charter.
“They’re quite a strong contingent in this community,” said Siebenga. “At least one quarter go to some kind of church or are members of some kind of church. I thought that’s one area that’s kind of missing.”
Van Barneveld highlighted that certain tables which spell out roles for the District and service groups should only be used as a reference.
The document can be accessed from the District’s website.