Mill Bay is in the final stages of drafting an age friendly plan for the community. (submitted)

Mill Bay age friendly plan in final stages

The goal is to create a safe and accessible place for seniors

The Mill Bay Age-Friendly Community Action plan, which has been in the works for some time, is almost complete.

“…It takes time to develop an age-friendly community,” said Area A Director Kerry Davis when the project was first started. “We have accomplished a few age-friendly priorities in Mill Bay, but there is more work to be done.”

The goal is to create a safe and accessible place for seniors who want to remain in the community to live, work or play.

Funding was received from the Union of B.C. Municipalities in December 2016 and Victoria-based Barefoot Planning led a community-driven assessment and draft action plan.

“With a median age of 46, compared to 41 in British Columbia, Mill Bay is aging and growing. The total population of Mill Bay saw 7.3 per cent growth between 2011 and 2016, after years of minimal growth. As a result, 51 per cent of the population is now over the age of 45, and 17 per cent is over the age of 65 — both higher than provincial averages,” said the draft action plan. “It is anticipated that these older age cohorts will continue to experience significant growth and change, placing increasing demands on the physical and social infrastructure of the community.”

With that comes a host of key issues affecting seniors that need to be addressed in order for that faction of the population to be able to age in place.

Eight preliminary recommendations have been drawn up, though not finalized.

Among them: to work with transit stakeholders to improve the service, to establish a seniors hub in the community, “to support the development of more attainable, diverse, flexible and accessible housing for seniors in Mill Bay”, and to lobby for pedestrian safety implementations for sidewalks, street crossings and pathways.

“Age friendly communities benefit residents of all ages. For example, safe, accessible, and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure provides security and comfort to children, parents pushing strollers, and those with mobility challenges,” said CVRD senior planner Bev Suderman. “Senior services can relieve families from the stresses of daily care, and provide a higher quality of life for older adults. And intergenerational programs build mutual respect, strengthen community bonds, and provide learning opportunities for all ages.”

Suderman said the project would wrap up by December this year. Once the plan is finalized it will be presented to the CVRD’s board of directors.

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