Under the guidance of Dr. Janis Shandro, via conference call, a group met to discuss collecting information.
While this might sound mundane, it is, however, a critical first step, according to Dr. Shandro, who is a researcher into how mines can impact community health and sustainability.
This information would be to create a baseline to see where the community is at now, so upcoming or increasing needs can be met or even just recognized if changes take place when the mine begins to impact the area.
The data will be part of a sustainability plan for the community, which Dr. Shandro is encouraging and advising the community to create, given the potential impacts of the incoming mine.
The indicators Dr. Shandro proposed include aspects of demographics, education, income, employment, housing, health and social services, healthy child development, social support networks, social environment, community culture, a community sustainability plan for both Nak’azdli and Fort St. James and community perceptions.
The list of specific indicators will be open to adjustment and modification through the process.
Northern Health, the District of Fort St. James, Nak’azdli, Fireweed and community members are all working to help gather the information necessary to get a set of baseline data for the community.
Dr. Shandro is a researcher who only recently completed a study examining sustainability and community health in mining and other resource-based communities.
At the last meeting, Dr. Shandro presented her study’s findings to the community of Fort St. James and urged those present to work on developing a sustainability plan for the community.
Having a plan in place could make a large difference to the long-term health and prosperity of the community, according to Dr. Shandro’s findings, and she also encouraged a proactive approach in working with the mining company as well.
“A mine presents a unique circumstance for a community and with that brings unique challenges and unique opportunities,” said Shandro.