A research team from the University of Northern BC, (UNBC) hosted an open house at the Community Resource Centre on April 16. The purpose of this open house was for the public to learn about the seniors’ mobility project and phase 1 plan. There were opportunities to ask questions about the recommendations developed over the seniors’ mobility project and to give feedback on current plans for improving seniors’ mobility in Clearwater.
This open house is part of a larger seniors’ mobility project called Front Door to the Grocery Store: Getting Seniors Where They Want to Be. The project began about a year ago. Participating seniors were taken on field trips where mobility issues were identified. A video clip of some of the outings was presented at the open house and showed folks identifying mobility concerns.
Jessica Blewett, the UNBC project coordinator welcomed guests to the open house. She commented on how impressed she was by the numbers of new faces of interested people she had met as they passed through the open house. Many came out of interest because those participating in the study had passed on their experience of having their concerns heard and feeling like this was a study that would move ahead with the recommendations and make a difference. Jessica directed folks to first look at the population graph showing the age demographics for the Clearwater area and how they have shifted to include so many over 55-year-olds over the last ten years. From there, people moved around the room and made comments on the various recommendations that have emerged from the study.
“I feel much concern for my safety along Park Drive and as a pedestrian going through the roundabout. I like using the trails This is good. It will bring attention to safety concerns,” said Monica Plante.
“I think it has been a really good process. I am happy council supported it,” stated Leslie Groulx. She went on to comment that she has noticed how impatient some people are with those who have difficulty navigating difficult doors or taking longer to get down the grocery aisle. “This is a good step towards the community accepting the diversity of people who live here. This study will also link into the new road cross section (alternate traffic modes) bylaw that council has adopted.”
District of Clearwater councillors Merlin Blackwell and Ken Kjenstad talked excitedly about the work council has already undertaken that supports the project’s recommendations. They noted that this mobility study expands to families who have members with mobility issues. “The comments are heartening,” said Ken Kjenstad. “As we look at the recommendations we (DOC) are on the way to doing these.”
“It is the little details that have come from people with mobility issues that we may have missed when we do the big projects. We see these details and it gives us ideas,“ commented Merlin Blackwell.
The UNBC team have also gathered input from DOC and the Age Friendly Committee. The information will be compiled and a finalized report available to the public at later date.