Chilliwack – The Mayor’s Task Force on Inclusiveness, Diversity and Accessibility has launched a new Action Plan with strategies to reduce social, physical, and systemic barriers within Chilliwack that prevent individuals from fully participating in the community. City Council approved the Action Plan at their February 16 meeting. Mayor Ken Popove admitted that the start of this initiative was a bumpy one.
The Action Plan features six long-term goals and action items to support each goal. The goals are as follows:
- Improve the City’s facilities, services, parks, and public spaces for persons with disabilities.
- Prioritize the well-being of marginalized community members.
- Prioritize relationship building with our First Nations neighbours.
- Prioritize opportunities for equitable and inclusive education for City staff.
- Create opportunities for marginalized voices and identities to have access to City of Chilliwack decision-makers.
- Explore and identify funding opportunities to support inclusion, diversity, and accessibility.
“Taking steps outlined in the Action Plan will help us contribute to a community environment where all of our residents feel welcome and have the opportunity to thrive,” said Mayor Popove. “This plan has no end date, as we recognize that this is an ongoing process that will require long-term commitment from the City of Chilliwack. We are excited to learn as we work alongside our residents towards a more inclusive city.”
“I have always been proud to call Chilliwack home, but my time on Council, this committee, and the Design Review Advisory Committee has shown me that we have more work to do to create the inclusive community I believe Chilliwack can be. This Action Plan reflects the growth we are experiencing as a City and demonstrates to me that when you know better, you can do better,” said Councillor Bud Mercer, Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Inclusiveness, Diversity and Accessibility.
“Chilliwack is growing quickly, and the steps we take as a municipality now will help create a more inclusive and equitable space for our community in the future. While the steps outlined in this Action Plan are only the beginning, I am excited to work with the broader community to establish a greater feeling of inclusion in our city,” said Councillor Jason Lum, Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Inclusiveness, Diversity and Accessibility.
Work on these goals is already underway. For example, to strengthen relationships with Indigenous neighbours, the City has begun incorporating First Nations artwork and language throughout the City. A Halq’eméylem welcome was added to the City’s highway entrance signs, Coast Salish artwork was installed in the Vedder roundabout, and elected City officials are participating in regular meetings with representatives from local First Nations to get a deeper understanding of how the City can better engage in reconciliation.
As staff begin work on the action items associated with each goal and seek feedback from the public, engagement opportunities will be posted online at engagechilliwack.com, where residents can register to participate. To read the Action Plan, visit chilliwack.com/inclusion.