The Municipality of Souris-Glenwood partnered with their local Chamber of Commerce to host an informational meeting to gauge the feasibility of sponsoring families from Ukraine. This, in response to the need to fill employment positions in their community, as well as recognizing Ukrainian families' desire to settle in Canada.
Monday evening's presentation included Killarney Deputy Mayor, Rick Pauls, sharing how he has helped families travel to Canada and settle in the Killarney area. As well, representation from those very families also attended the meeting in Souris and shared some of their experiences.
Souris Mayor, Duane Davison, says they had a fairly good turnout at Monday evening's meeting, and have started the process of putting a plan together, starting with the formation of a steering committee.
"We had really good discussions on Monday, and all in all it went very well," he explains. "We have several businesses looking for [employees], and so that was the first part of the challenge; trying to gauge the interest in getting some people here. The second part, and the biggest part, is figuring out what we would do for accommodations, and we're actually well on our way with that. I've gotten some phone calls already with some folks willing to make this happen."
"So, we're putting a steering committee together and then we'll try to allocate some tasks out, like jobs and housing, second language and community involvement. And then, we're going to try and put our foot on the gas pedal and move forward with this as quickly as possible," Davison adds.
The first priority for the new steering committee will be to identify the jobs that need to be filled, including job requirements and training that needs to be in place. After that, securing housing for these families will be very important with the entire community partnering together.
Mayor Davison says they may model the housing strategy after Killarney's plan where residents billet a family for 3 months, during which they work together to find appropriate housing. Once in their new home, the sponsor families help with food and perhaps utilities until the Ukrainian family starts receiving paycheques, hopefully only a couple of months.
Please listen to the remainder of the interview with Souris-Glenwood Mayor, Duane Davison, and CJRB's Barry Lamb below: