The City of Lacombe hired the consulting company, Moorhouse and Associates, to carry out research for phase one of the Social Master Plan. The plan will help the city to learn what areas need the most support. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)

The City of Lacombe hired the consulting company, Moorhouse and Associates, to carry out research for phase one of the Social Master Plan. The plan will help the city to learn what areas need the most support. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)

City of Lacombe announces first-ever Social Master Plan

The plan aims to discover what services need the City’s attention over the next five years

The Social Master Plan (SMP) the City of Lacombe announced is currently in phase one of creation and will finish this phase in November, 2020.

According to the Director of Community Services for the City of Lacombe, Deborah Juch, a SMP is used by many municipalities to plan how to allocate resources to social services.

“It is very common, for example Sylvan Lake has a great Social Master Plan,” said Juch.

The plan, once completed, will help the City know where the public service strengths and weakness lie in the community. They can then understand where to allocate resources and what services are most beneficial to residents.

“There’s an awful lot you can do that supports social well-being in the community,” said Juch.

Social well-being in this sense is defined as anything that contributes to Lacombe resident’s quality of life, according to Juch. This includes services like the police, affordable housing options and transportation safety. Currently, the City is researching several types of these social services that serve a wide variety of people.

The goal of phase one is to identify the strengths the community already has along with areas for potential improvement. They can then create a narrowed down list of specific areas to look into for phase two.

Right now, phase one is being carried out by an Edmonton-based consulting company who will present their findings to the City at the end of next month.

The SMP will also utilize Statistics Canada and Emergency Services data along with surveys of not-for-profit businesses. The data gathered will form the basis of decisions for the next five years.

Juch also notes it’s important for the City to understand what areas Lacombe excels in just as much as it is to know where improvement is needed.

“Our strengths, for me, are a point of curiosity,” said Juch. “There’s going to be clues there for how we can address the gaps because you can’t fill everything with money.”

Once both phases are completed and recommendations have been made to the City, the data will be available online for the public. Since the City is still in phase one, they don’t have a concrete date for completion for the project.