Vancouver Foundation recently approved a grant of nearly $230,000 for a project in Clearwater to be called From Front Door to Grocery Store: Getting Seniors Where They Want To Be.
“This initiative came out of the results of the Age Friendly Planning Assessment completed this last spring and summer through University of Northern BC with funds from Union of BC Municipalities,” said Leslie Groulx, District of Clearwater’s chief administrative officer. “Remember that good mobility for seniors provides a benefit for all community members (citizens) of our community.”
The remaining dollars for the project will be raised through various organizations, agencies and in-kind donations. The commitment from District of Clearwater will be $5,000 per year for three years for a total of $15,000.
The District’s second commitment to this project will be to continue the Age Friendly Advisory Committee that was struck by Council in March of last year.
Groulx said that in the late summer and early fall District staff worked with Marleen Morris of UNBC to submit a grant application for the project to Vancouver Foundation.
The project is to be completed over a three year period starting in April, 2013.
The person that will be appointed to be the project manager is Jessica Blewett who, according to Groulx, has an extensive background in accessibility and design work for seniors.
The project manager is expected to spend a substantial amount of time in the community completing the work.
“As this is a pilot project it will be published for rural B.C. communities to reference,” Groulx said. “The alternate benefit is that we continue to grow our relationship with the University of Northern BC (next will be to seek ways of meaningful partnering with TRU).”
According to the District’s letter of application for the grant, from 2001 to 2006, the population 65 years of age and older in Clearwater increased 42 per cent.
The letter said that seniors mobility is a key factor in creating an age-friendly community, and the District anticipates that it will utilize the results and recommendations from this research in five ways.
1. The results and recommendations will provide guidance in formulating bylaws, zoning, and policies that will ensure that the District, as local government, see its decisions through an age-friendly lens.
2. The District will use the research information to plan services, programs, facilities, and other community amenities. For example, we will use the results of the community mobility assessments to plan much needed sidewalk and lighting installation and repair in our commercial areas; identify improvements to the accessibility of our community facilities such as the district offices, recreation centre, and public library; and schedule services such as snow removal to ensure that areas that seniors need access to are cleared in a timely manner.
3. The information collected will inform the District’s review of new commercial and seniors residential development proposals in Clearwater to ensure that they incorporate the seniors mobility needs we have identified.
4. The results and recommendations will inform the District’s discussions with other levels of government and government agencies regarding the community services, programs, and facilities that Clearwater will require to provide for seniors mobility. For example, the municipality will use the information from the public transit assessment in its discussions with BC Transit regarding levels of service, and the mobility assessment results in its discussion with the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure regarding pedestrian crossings of the Yellowhead Highway.
5. As local government, the District will actively encourage non-profit organizations and businesses in the community to use the recommendations and results from the research to inform their planning and decision-making.