Healthy Foundations Matter: Social Well-Being

Covid-19 has done a number on nearly all of us. The extroverts- we were not okay! Many of us learned just how important relationships and socialization is. Having it taken away in one form or another, has done a job on us. Most of us did so willingly because we understood the greater good of keeping each other safe. Social wellness took a hit. Now we’re all looking at reconnections and socializing with friends, family and neighbours again as we see restrictions lift and vaccinations rates go up. However, how do we do so safely while infection rates continue to climb, but the desire to be with others feels like it’s at an all-time high? That’s a debate we’ll be having for a while, but regardless of approach, we have to consider, as a council, the social well-being of our community.

Social well-being can be defined as the sharing, developing, and sustaining of meaningful relationships with others. This allows you to feel authentic and valued, and provides a sense of connectedness and belonging.
Erin Stevenson swinging on a swing at Jubille Parking. She's smiling and looking off to the side.

Relationships are important and the supports for them are necessary. Leave no person behind. Our relationships come in many forms including the support systems set up to help us connect and share our experiences.

Going forward, as we recover from Covid-19, our mental health , our physical health and social health key. As a resident and a member of council, consider the following:

  1. Support systems- You understand the role of FHSS and the critical part they play in social well-being. You believe in affordable housing, support for our not for profits and community organizations, our churches, the numerous associations and businesses who play a huge part in social well-being and taking care of each other.
  2. Socialization- You love community building. You desire neighbourhood block parties and wish to events within the community. You love the walkability and mobility of this city and popping off a cheery hello to those you pass. You value your health and the health of others. You enjoy volunteering and making this a better community to live in.
  3. Free to be you- You believe in seeing the beauty in the differences of those around you. You don’t discriminate against those that practice their religion, you accept with love and grace the LGTBQ2S+ community, our growing BIPOC community, welcome new refugees, new Albertans, and new Grovers. Accessibility is important for those with disabilities, our seniors and our young. You have compassion and empathy for your fellow neighbour and lend a hand with kindness and without judgement.

Spruce Grove is a growing community, one of the fastest in Canada. We aren’t the small city of 10,000 people I grew up with. We’re a medium-sized city on the verge of 40,000 people. Our problems are changing. Our demographics is changing. That means new ways of approaching some pretty wicked problems.

Healthy Foundations Matter: Political Well-Being

Politics (from Greek: Πολιτικά, politiká, ‘affairs of the cities’) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status.

The idea of political well-being may be the hardest one to capture accurately or with certainty. The concept of political well-being is interdisciplinary and often overlaps with other areas like education, the economy, health and making progress.

In many ways, we are all part of the politics of our city, whether we choose to actively participate or not. Political well-being can mean having the ability to participate in the political process. We are a democratic country with democratic principles of governance at all three levels of government.

Debates on the good life and the role of individuals, society and the state, in promoting this date back at least as far as the ancient Greeks.

(Allin and Hand 2014, p3)

At the local level, political well-being means our residents can participate in the political process, have their voices are heard, and feel they’ve been listened to, even when decisions may not go their way. Decisions are made to benefit the collective, not an individual. Council is secular secular- we accepts facts, not just strong opinion. We have healthy debate and conversation. We communicate with our residents.

Erin Stevenson speaking with a local resident at Jubilee Park. Sitting at picnic table discussing.

And we value relationships, understanding we cannot do it alone at the local level. We maintain working relationships with our regional partners, our provincial government and federal government. We don’t accept interference from other levels of government when it’s inappropriate and we’re not afraid to defend that position.

Local council is busier than ever and there is a lot of complexity to the issues before us The committee work is intense but council is at the table to represent Spruce Grove to other levels of government, fellow local governments and associations.

Being a councillor means being politically active but maintaining a non-partisan point of view while representing the city with the best interests of the community in mind.

As a resident and a member of council, consider the following:

  1. Collaboration and partnership– You believe in collaboration and partnership. You agree that it best to work with all levels of government without prejudice. You respect the city’s administration as subject area experts and to make appropriate choices to run the operations of the city. You believe in working with our regional partners because we are stronger as a region. You believe in partnership with our local associations and organizations like the Rotary, CCBA, the Chamber, our volunteer groups and more.
  2. Keep municipal politics local and non-partisan– You believe in the democracy set out and while local government is a creature of the province, that we must be able to govern without interference. You believe in proper consultation and that local governments understand the local issues best. You understand partisan politics has no place locally and that council members make decisions based on what’s best for the residents, and not party policy. You understand that we are a secular government and are not to be influenced otherwise.
  3. Healthy government– You believe in transparency and accountability.  You believe data should be accessible.  You believe privacy should be respected. You support your local government doing all they can to secure sensitive data from hacking or theft attempts. You respect a government that takes healthy risks and is not risk averse. You understand that not all debt is bad debt and a healthy government makes decisions not just for today’s residents, but those 20 years from now. You believe in public participation. You agree that residents are free to share opinion with their council. You agree decisions should be made publicly, not behind closed doors. You believe in healthy debate and respectful political discourse.