Six communities around British Columbia have been honoured this year for their work to help seniors remain safe, active and independent in their communities.
Abbotsford, Keremeos, Salmo, Sicamous, Smithers and Tofino have each received a letter of congratulations, an Age-friendly BC Recognition poster and a $1,000 award to create an age-friendly community legacy project or a celebration.
The Age-friendly BC Recognition program is a partnership between BC Healthy Communities Society and the Ministry of Health and part of the Age-friendly BC Strategy. To date 45 B.C. communities have received Age-friendly BC Recognition.
To achieve recognition, four key steps must be taken. These include establishing an age-friendly advisory or steering committee, passing a council or district board resolution, conducting an age-friendly assessment, and developing and publishing an action plan.
While all six communities have met these keys steps, the type of age-friendly priorities vary by community and range from infrastructure improvements to housing initiatives to programs combating social isolation. For example, the Town of Smithers allocated funds to support age-friendly infrastructure development including accessibility improvements to local trail networks and accessible washrooms; the District of Sicamous engaged with 171 seniors to inform age-friendly changes to their Official Community Plan; and the Village of Keremeos age-friendly advisory committee has been involved in several downtown enhancements, as well as the installation of age-friendly outdoor exercise park.
“Our province’s population of older people is growing rapidly. Nearly three times as many people over 65 living are living in B.C. today as compared to 35 years ago and this number is projected to more than double over the next 25 years. It is becoming increasingly important that we create conditions for healthy aging”, said Jodi Mucha, executive director for BC Healthy Communities Society. “We are very pleased with the ongoing commitment of local governments across B.C. to proactively plan for, and demonstrate leadership toward becoming age-friendly communities.”
The recognized communities will continue implementing age-friendly plans and projects.
Learn more about how communities can receive age-friendly recognition and celebrate the complete list of age-friendly recognized communities.
Sarah is a sustainability minded community planner, who believes that through innovative and authentic community engagement we can better express our deep connection to place and desires for a sustainable and healthy future. She is passionate about the need for high-quality public spaces in our communities, seeing them as integral to the social life and feelings of inclusion.
Sarah is a graduate of the Dalhousie University Master of Planning and University of Victoria Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Psychology programs. Her work experience brings a background in multi-stakeholder collaboration, community driven space design, First Nations community design projects, ageing-in-place focused rural community design, and active transportation advocacy.