REPORTING · 21st January 2012
Lisa Frazer, representing the Age Friendly Communities Group took the stand at the City Council Meeting on January 16th.
“The Kitimat Age Friendly Committee aims to raise awareness of what it means to be age friendly and mobilize the efforts of multiple organizations in Kitimat striving to create changes which will make this town age friendly for everyone who lives here,” said Frazer.
She explained the world’s population is aging. The District of Kitimat and BC are no exception. The official community plan says population growth was only seen in the 45-64 and 65+ age groups. Kitimat has a higher number of seniors then the BC average. She expressed being able to age in place was important to the future of Kitimat.
An age friendly community can be defined as a community which addresses accessibility and inclusion of all ages in several areas. These areas are 1: the outdoors and buildings, 2: transportation, 3: housing, 4: social participation, 5: respect and social inclusion, 6: civic participation and employment, 7: communication and information and 8: community support and health services.
“Everyone benefits in an age friendly community. Seniors are supported to remain and age actively, enjoying good health and staying involved in their communities. People of all ages and abilities benefit from safer, barrier free streets, better access to local businesses and facilities and more green spaces that support use by a wide group of ages,” said Frazer.
She explained businesses benefit because people can access them. The community benefits from adults with work and life experience contributing in the community. There are grants from the Union of BC Municipalities to assist with Age friendly planning and projects.
The four basic steps are Community Engagement, Commitment, Assessment and Action. She asked Council to consider pass a resolution to support age friendly initiatives in the District of Kitimat.
Councillor Corrine Scott made a motion to actively participate, promote and work to implement age friendly initiatives. It was carried. She made a second motion to endorse the process and will work with the community to establish such a committee.
She put her name in for representative but amended the motion ask the Mayor to appoints representatives. Councillor Mario Feldhoff felt this would be better covered by the Persons with Disabilities Commission. He also expressed there are a number of committees already.
Scott pointed out this committee would be an umbrella group dealing with the old and the young. It would cover recreation, disabilities and other areas where they have group. Feldhoff pointed out the recreation commission did look at these items. The motion was called and carried.