Council OKs age-friendly and seniors housing plans

District of Lillooet Council has voted to accept the Active Community Master Plan and the Age-friendly and Senior Housing Master Plan.

Council voted unanimously to accept the plans as presented at its Aug. 13 regular meeting.

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“It was a delight to do and be part of,” commented Mayor Marg Lampman. “I think the response by the community was excellent. We had about 190 people respond to it. And the information within this report will serve future councils and staff in our planning as they work through planning and budget items.”

Mayor Lampman added, “ From what I read, there is an overall desire for people to get out and be more active and to have more seniors housing at all levels.”

Councillor Kevin Aitken noted, “This is a good example of us going out to the community and listening and getting input.”

The two plans were done concurrently to maximize the use of resources and allow for an efficient public engagement process.

The strategy developing the two plans took place between January 2018 and June 2018 and followed a four-phased planning process in order to answer the questions:

1. What is happening in and around Lillooet to support community members as they

age?

2. What matters most to residents?

3. What can be done to make things better –in other words, what changes can be

made that have both a high impact and that residents want?

The District of Lillooet has an aging population. About one quarter of its population (24 per cent) is above the age of 65, increasing by about nine per cent between the years 2006–2015. This is compared to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District as a whole, where about 11 per cent of the population is over the age of 65. This means that there are about 535 individuals over the age of 65 living in the District of Lillooet and 945 between the ages of 40 -64.

The plans state that the municipality is also a hub for several communities nearby, including the six Northern St’át’imc communities and SLRD Area B.

“As a result, the District of Lillooet may also need to consider the potential needs of

seniors in nearby communities who may access services in Lillooet or who may wish to live in Lillooet as they age, in order to be closer to amenities and services,” the plans state.

Transportation, housing and access to community supports and health services are identified as some of the top challenges for seniors in Lillooet.

Asked what kind of housing, if any, they are looking for, 54 per cent of participants in the survey said they want to live independently and not in a retirement home or retirement community. Nineteen per cent replied that they want to live independently (no assistance with daily tasks) in a retirement home or community. Seventeen per cent would prefer assisted living (some assistance with daily tasks), seven per cent opt for a long term care home and four per cent answered “Other.”

Survey results for the Active Community Master Plan indicate residents want to spend time outdoors, be healthy, be sociable and have access to some easy trails and bike paths.

Fifty-eight per cent of the respondents say they use the Lillooet REC Centre and 45 per cent of survey respondents said they were satisfied with opportunities to be active in Lillooet, while 39 per cent said they were neither satisfied or dissatisfied. Only 16 per cent said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Respondents identified proximity to nature, the climate and Lillooet’s outdoor active infrastructure as the community’s greatest assets.

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© Copyright 2018 Bridge River Lillooet News

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