‘No one is left behind’ – Compassionate City Charter launched during mayor’s state of the city
St. Catharines Standard – Karena Walter January 30, 2018.
Hundreds of people signed their names to a new Compassionate St. Catharines Charter Tuesday evening following Mayor Walter Sendzik’s state of the city address.
The charter, launched by Sendzik during the event, is a commitment by those who sign it to work towards the shared goal of a compassionate and prosperous city — socially, economically, environmentally and culturally.
“A compassionate city is one in which no one is left behind, no one is standing outside of the circle, we’re all inside the circle, no one’s invisible, we see everybody,” Sendzik told a packed house at Partridge Hall in FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.
“It’s about the wealth of our community being defined by the health and well-being of everybody.”
He said as a growing city, St. Catharines is not immune to the challenges of other cities, such as mental health and addictions, homelessness and poverty. They are challenges, Sendzik said, that everyone must work collectively to address.
Sendzik rolled out the Compassionate City initiative publicly during his 2016 state of the city address, annually hosted by Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.
His fourth address Tuesday and the last of the term focused on the expected and unexpected happenings over the past year.
“The state of our city is not defined by what you expect, but how you respond and lead when confronted with the unexpected,” he said.
A compassionate city initiative, he said, is an unexpected development.
He asked everyone to join him in signing the Compassionate City Charter — which also went up online Tuesday for residents to sign at www.compassionatestc.ca. In doing so, Sendzik said they’ll be taking action in creating a compassionate city.
“I know we have what it takes for our city to be a place where everyone belongs and this charter will be the next chapter in the city’s history that few people will have expected.”
Audience members lined the aisles and made they way onto the stage to sign the charter after Sendzik invited chamber CEO Mishka Balsom to be the first to sign.
“If anything would sum up today’s state of the city I would say that we’re capable of doing more for those with less, with less choices, with less privilege and less basic human rights,” Balsom told the people gathered.
She said they commit to the well-being of the entire community when they make it a priority to build and strength the community they want to call home, not only for today but tomorrow.
Sendzik’s speech highlighted achievements in the city and challenges, including climate change, climbing housing prices and people facing intolerance.
He also touched on the opioid crisis and vowed the city will get a safe injection site. The idea was greeted with loud applause.
“When the time comes and people push back, I need to hear that applause,” he told them.
Compassionate STC Charter
We all want to live in a compassionate and prosperous city — socially, economically, environmentally and culturally. Signing the Compassionate STC Charter demonstrates our commitment to taking personal action to achieve our shared goals. We have what it takes.
The health and well-being of our city is measured by the health and well-being of everyone. The success of our city depends on our residents, community partners, schools and businesses working together. Through combining care and action, you will ensure that no one is left outside the circle of community.
Commit to being an active participant in fulfilling our vision. Sign the Compassionate STC Charter.
2018 Team St. Catharines award winners
Mayor Walter Sendzik presents awards to local businesses during the state of the city address. This year, four recipients joined Team St. Catharines and received a coveted jersey:
Future Leader: Adrian Kulakowsky of Kully’s and Advisor’s Realty and Consulting
Legacy Leader: Heart of Niagara Hotels, owned by the Nitsopoulos family
Legacy Leader: Henry of Pelham Estate Winery
Lifetime Leader:Ted Hoxie of Beatties