Avon population

Blue Mountains Council urges collaboration with county on age-friendly policies

Councilor Rob Sampson said housing is key because without options older people cannot age in place

Blue Mountains council members urged a Gray County delegation to continue working with city officials to create an age-friendly community.

Gray County Planning Services Director Scott Taylor and Intermediate Planner/Forest Trails Coordinator Stephanie Lacey-Avon attended the regular Blue Mountains Council meeting on Monday, April 25 to present the strategy and plan. county senior-friendly community action plan.

Lacey-Avon presented the report to council and outlined the work being done on the strategy from July 2021. The county has produced several background reports (all of which are available at www.grey.ca) and engaged in public consultation on the plan.

“We’re really proud of the efforts we’ve been able to make, despite the limitations the pandemic has placed on us,” Avon-Lacey said. “Through this project, we wanted to make sure that we were not only thinking about how best to achieve age-friendly community outcomes for this demographic of Gray as it is today, but also thinking about how we can improve this area to be an attractive place for young people, young families, immigrants and others to move and stay.

The demographic information identified in the report included:

  • As of 2021, Gray County’s median age is 49.3 years, while it is 40.7 years province-wide.
  • 24% of Grey’s population is 65 and over, compared to 14.8% aged 0-14.
  • In the Blue Mountains, 34.9% of the municipal population is 65 or older, compared to just 9.6% aged 0-14.

Findings from the AFC investigation included:

  • One in three survey respondents identified a physical condition or mental health condition or health problem that reduces the amount or type of activity they can do.
  • About one in two said only “sometimes” that there were enough benches and rest areas along streets, parks and buildings.
  • More than one in two indicate that people only “sometimes” understand how to share the road with other road users (pedestrians, cyclists, agricultural equipment, etc.).

The survey also indicated the following needs/wants of respondents:

  • A need for a full range of housing choices,
  • Culturally sensitive and welcoming activities and attractions,
  • Understand the needs of all ages (young, working age, elderly, etc.),
  • Access to public computers and the Internet,
  • Improved access to family physicians.

Councilman Andrea Matrosovs said the demographic information in the report was not surprising and said future collaboration between the county and the city would be essential.

“Moving forward, as one of the next steps, we would like to mutually continue to talk to each other because a large part of our sustainability must absolutely balance on the three pillars of environment, economy and social and cultural,” Matrosovs said. “Our action steps are very similar to your action steps.”

Avon-Lacey said that in the future, the county plans to form a task force to share and collaborate on projects and actions.

Councilor Rob Sampson suggested the availability of housing options for those who want to live locally is critically important.

“It would be wise to elevate this as a key and immediate priority to try to ensure that we have the plan, the tools, the resources, the energy and the effort directed towards this as soon as possible, as opposed to some time. on the road. Without a full range of housing options, it’s not practical for people to age in place,” Sampson said.

Mayor Alar Soever raised a number of issues with the county delegation, including: access to broadband internet services, long-term care and health services.

“How are we going to look at the county which is so different in its different parts,” asked the mayor. “How do we approach cross-border issues? Many of our seniors have access to services outside of Gray County.

Taylor said the county looks forward to working in partnership to implement the actions identified in the plan.

“We’re going to have to think about what this research has shown us both in terms of an age-friendly community action plan and a growth management study,” Taylor said. “In some cases we may need to work with individual municipalities on certain opportunities and challenges and in other cases we may work with all nine municipalities.”

After the presentation and question and answer session, the board voted 5-0 to receive the report for information.