Public input sought for an age-friendly Oak Bay

Thursday open house also invites comments on draft Oak Bay Complete Streets Handbook

The District of Oak Bay is looking for the community’s input into projects exploring how Oak Bay can be more age-friendly and how its streets can better accommodate users.

An open house for both projects is planned for this Thursday, Nov. 5 at municipal hall.

The Age Friendly Action Plan, which sets out a strategy for developing a community that meets the needs of its aging population, originated with funding from the Union of B.C. Municipalities for projects designed to make communities more age-friendly, said Oak Bay planner Deborah Jensen.

The goal was to have a comprehensive look at what was needed in the municipality to support people of all ages. Once adopted, the plan will serve as a guide for municipal departments.

If a developer proposes a new building, for example, the guide might indicate features that would better support seniors, Jensen said.

From conversations with groups working with seniors in the community, work by the Age Friendly Working Group and an open house last spring, a draft action plan is ready for review at the open house.

The plan presents a vision for the community and includes strategies for both the physical and social environment such as buildings and outdoor spaces, parks, transportation, housing, respect and inclusion, communication and community support and health.

“The whole idea is to come up with something comprehensive and unique to your community with how you deal with some of these issues,” Jensen said, noting that one of the surprises of the process has been that youth also wanted to be considered in discussions about an “age friendly” community.

From that emerged the question, “How do we develop intergenerational relationships between the adults in the community and the youth in the community as well?” she said.

Other issues identified range from the desire for more public seating and better signage to help people move more easily around the community to spreading cultural activities throughout the municipality, including areas like north Oak Bay and Henderson as an example.

“Oak Bay does quite a good job of hosting events throughout the year, but could we do things differently?”

Jensen anticipates presenting a draft of the Age Friendly Action Plan to council in November or December. Residents can find more information online or get one more look at the draft plan when materials are moved to Monterey centre for several days following the open house.

Also at the open house will be a look at the district’s Complete Streets project.

The draft Oak Bay Complete Streets Handbook would initiate a complete streets program and provide direction for district staff and the community on specific street enhancement projects and techniques.

The draft handbook, which is available for digital download, includes strategies for designing safer streets that accommodate all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, motorists and freight vehicles.

The Nov. 5 open house, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Oak Bay Municipal Hall, will give the public a chance to review and comment on the draft Age Friendly Action Plan and the Complete Streets Handbook.

For further information, see oakbay.ca.

 

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