Aging Well committee cites transportation as major issue
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | October 19, 2017|
Transportation and access to local health care continue to be major barriers for seniors, according to Haliburton County’s Aging Well Master Plan.
The 123-page document is making its way around the county and is dedicated to developing additional “forethought” to help residents “age in place.”
In 2009, the Aging Well Committee of Haliburton County successfully applied for the Age-Friendly Community Planning Grant program. That went towards developing a master plan.
The county’s Aging Well committee consists of local seniors and public health staff. Angela Andrews, health promoter for Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit and chair of the aging well committee, presented the plan and specific recommendations for Algonquin Highlands during a regular council meeting at the end of September.
“The main priority areas that came up are typically no surprise: transportation, housing, access to community health services and social participation,” said Andrews. She said municipalities should try to take advantage of gas tax funding, which can be acquired if they contribute financially to public transit services themselves. Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen said she liked the plan’s recommendation of establishing a housing committee at the county level.
“There is currently no mechanism in place for the housing strategy to be implemented nor is there a monitoring and evaluation process in place to measure success,” according to the master plan.
Sheila Robb, a member of the aging well committee, said the master plan will help everyone, not just seniors. “When you talk to people who aren’t seniors but have mobility issues … and that includes children … I discovered that the plan will help everyone,” she told Algonquin Highlands councillors.
The presentation was made in Highlands East recently, where concerns were expressed over the closure of the Scotiabank in Wilberforce and how seniors will be able to afford transportation to Haliburton and Bancroft to do their banking.
“The Community Support Services van service may be an option, however, it was noted that a minimum of three people need to book a ride with the van on the same day in order for it to be re-routed to Wilberforce, Gooderham,” according to the master plan.
And while Dysart has waived parking meter fees during the winter to make it easier for seniors to utilize on-street parking, the report suggests better street lighting at the Mountain View apartments, between Mountain Street and Cedar Street to better illuminate the street and increase the visibility of pedestrians in the area. For Minden Hills, the report highlights the need for a clearer online presence, specifically on the township’s website, which seniors identified as being the most difficult to navigate, along with the county’s website.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.