With one in three Creston residents over the age of 65, age friendliness isn’t just a desire, it’s a necessity.
A newly created action plan is slated for approval next week after town council decided on Feb. 26 that some minor changes were needed.
Funded entirely by the Seniors’ Housing and Support Initiative and supported by the Union of BC Municipalities and Healthy Families BC, the Age Friendly Action Plan did not use local taxation dollars.
A 10-person committee of locals who have regular interaction with seniors in assessing their needs was supported by 14 other volunteers who take an interest in the community. Co-ordinated by the Centre of Sustainability in Whistler, the report used the 2008 Creston Valley Age-friendly Assessment as background information.
“An age-friendly community is one where older adults can enjoy good health, community support and feel a sense of security as they engage and participate in the community,” the report begins. “In 2011, 33 per cent of the Town of Creston’s population was 65 years and older, up slightly from the 2006 census data of 31 per cent and much higher than the 2011 provincial figure of 16 per cent. This statistic emphasizes the importance of making Creston an age-friendly valley and community, and is at the heart of the Town of Creston’s desire to ensure that older adults are active participants in community life and municipal planning initiatives.”
The action report is broken down into themes including housing, outdoor spaces and buildings; community support and health services; respect and social inclusion; social participation; civic participation and employment opportunities; transportation; and communication and information.
A two-page action plan is included in the yet-to-be-adopted report. As proposed, it calls for the creation of a seniors resource centre and expansion of seniors advocate services. Wheelchair access to the community complex from Hillside Street is identified as a need, as is the need for more park benches around town and better communication about the Creston Valley Thunder Cats “Snow Cats” snow-clearing program for seniors.
The long-discussed need for a downtown public washroom appears once again and affordable housing and ready access to health services remain a priority.
The Age Friendly Action Plan will be posted on the Town of Creston website, www.creston.ca, once it has been adopted by town council.