Improving health in Greater Trail and protecting the environment, begins with the communities’ youngest members.
Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs was the first to sign the “It Starts with the Kids!” document at the Trail Area Health & Environment Committee (THEC) meeting Tuesday evening.
The 61-page resource is not legally binding but is considered a living document which means it’s dynamic and can be updated as the issues surrounding life in an industrial community evolve along with technologies and research.
Now called the Trail Area Health and Environment Program (THEP) the renewed collaboration between community stakeholders is in it’s third edition. This time, the scope is broader, the approach more inclusive, and it acknowledges the most recent advances in scientific research on lead.
“This program also explores the broader opportunities for enhancing childhood development,” wrote Bogs in the document’s forward. “A child’s early development is dependent on many factors,” he continued, adding that communities should do more to support children and families during the critical years when capacity to succeed and thrive is being determined.
“Here’s where Trail can show the way,” he added.
The program’s new plan outlines how children’s lead exposure can be prevented and how levels of lead in the environment can be furthered reduced.
“We have an enthusiastic core community group, including THEC, keen to champion this vision of a community that cares for its kids and supports the families that nurture them.”
The community-led program focuses on THEC’s mission to create a healthy environment with five key components that include family health, healthy homes, property development (includes soil remediation) community greening and air quality.
The document includes detailed histories of children’s blood levels in Trail, which have decreased significantly since the installation of the KIVCET smelter in 1997.
This fall, the testing will continue during blood level clinics organized through the Interior Health Family Health program. To date, 229 children aged between six months and three years have been invited to be tested.
Additionally, an “Ages and Stages Day” is slated for Oct. 8 at the Kiro Wellness, which is an event that houses many of the area’s childhood developmental resources under one roof.
Since 1989 Bogs has been a THEC member, and served 17 of those years as committee chair.
He is one of 16 signatories on the renewed collaboration between the area’s stakeholders who have a combined interest and dedication to promoting a healthy environment.
“I’m very pleased that we managed to finalize the wording of this document that in itself was a major challenge with a document of this magnitude and complexity,” he said to the meeting’s full house that included members from Teck Trail Operations, the BC Ministry of Environment, Interior Health, Warfield, and the community-at large.
“Any time you have a number of ministries, companies and the community involved it’s difficult to come up with words that everyone is pleased with, so well done.”