The initiative to make the town of Tumbler Ridge more seniors and disabled friendly has seen great progress over the past few weeks.
The big news this week was hearing from Service Canada that the grant application, submitted by the Lions Club and supported by the Seniors? Needs Task Force, was successful. The New Horizons For Seniors program has awarded the Lions Club with a grant of $25,000.00 for the development of a Seniors Communication and Drop-In Centre. The Lions and the Task Force are grateful to the many individuals and organizations that supported the application and contributed to its success. This announcement comes on the heels of news that the long-awaited renovations to the Youth Centre, that will allow a partnership between the young people of the town and the seniors, will be completed by the end of February. The grant monies will be used to provide furnishings, office equipment, education for the senior volunteers in computer skills, and related operational costs. The communication and drop-in centre will provide a place where seniors, or others with special needs, can acquire information on available services, medical travel details, activity schedules, assistance with government forms and processes, etc., while enjoying a chance to enjoy a cup of coffee and socialize with friends at the same time.
The other major steps towards creating an age/disability friendly community were the completion of the Strategic Plan at the end of November, and the subsequent formal acceptance of the plan by the new Council. This official endorsement supports the Task Force in implementing the more than 50 recommendations that form the framework of the Strategic Plan. Not that the group has been standing still while waiting! Very productive meetings have been held with various management personnel of Northern Health to discuss the possibility of increasing services within the town, and creating innovative approaches to service delivery. The clinic has acquired the services of a third physician, starting in March, and negotiations continue towards the establishment of a local dental service in the near future.
Other improvements that have already occurred include the actions taken by the Public Works department in regards to crosswalk repair, creation of more handicapped parking, and priority street and sidewalk clearing during the winter weather, along with the number of businesses in town that are making age and disability friendly renovations to their establishments.
In all, the town is moving forward to make Tumbler Ridge a community where there is access, inclusion, and support services for all residents regardless of age or ability.