Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps

LISA HELPS: Victoria, a city for all ages

Victoria’s mayor offers her thoughts on issues important to city residents and property owners

On Tuesday morning I attended the launch of Greater Victoria’s Vital Signs report – an annual check up on the health and well-being of the region. Overall quality of life in the region received a mark of B+.

That’s pretty good. But what’s worrying is that 25 per cent of people surveyed felt discriminated against at some point, felt like they didn’t belong. This needs our collective attention as the city grows and changes.

Victoria’s demographics are changing, as well as the city’s built form. The results of the latest census are starting to come out. As well as our population growing by nearly 6,000 people from 2011 to 2016, our age mix is changing, too. According to the latest round of data released, we’re seeing that the numbers of children, youth and seniors in the city are increasing. And youth and seniors are two groups who have, according to Vital Signs, “historically struggled harder to feel included.”

It’s very important based on Vital Signs and the census data for the City to take the initiative to make sure there are services that serve the needs of all “ages and stages,” from childhood, to students and young adults, new families and working people, through to pre-retirement and retirement. We need to build a city that is inclusive and welcoming for people of all ages, where everyone feels like there’s something for them and that this is their community, too.

Our public library is hugely popular and expanding. Soon we’ll be opening a new branch in James Bay, which has the highest concentration of seniors in the city. The library’s a great example of a community service that creates connection and belonging from Books for Babies through the Teen Zone, to home delivery of books for shut-ins, plus equipment adapted for people with special needs.

While the present Crystal Pool has many programs to serve all ages, it doesn’t serve everyone’s needs. The proposed new pool is deliberately being designed to cater to all ages and abilities. This means that seniors and others with mobility challenges will be able to access the pool and take part in social, recreational and health and wellness activities.

Have you noticed the new kids’ playgrounds and their colourful new equipment? With more families with children, we’ve been proactive in adding upgrades and new facilities at existing parks and playgrounds. And the numbers using them have exceeded all our expectations. The new “Playbox” in Central Park lets parents and kids access toys and equipment to add to their recreation experience.

And of course, there are many city programs that benefit people of all ages. For example, the tree replacement program keeps us all close to nature and provides the green canopy to help reduce our carbon footprint.

The “My Great Neighbourhood” grants support projects and activities that people want to do to animate their community spaces and bring people together.

Yet to create a truly inclusive city where people of all ages feel like they belong is not only the responsibility of City Hall. It takes each of us, reaching out, looking for opportunities to connect, and coming together to organize activities that help foster a sense of connection and belonging, for everyone.

Lisa Helps is mayor of Victoria.

Just Posted

Skeena combines Roy Henry Vickers’ vibrant expression with robust oral history

Vickers’ and Budd’s ninth collaboration sells out of local book store, Amazon

Traffic delayed near Saanich, West Shore border after driver collides with telephone pole

Police remind drivers roads to slow down on slippery, winding roads

Three VicPD officers honoured with award of valour from Lieutenant Governor

The officers were among 114 BC law enforcement member recognized for bravery and dedication

UVic threatens any athletes who speak about rowing coach investigation

Barney Williams has been accused of harassment and abuse

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

University of Victoria threatens any athletes who speak about rowing coach probe

Barney Williams has been accused of harassment and abuse

B.C.’s largest catholic archdiocese names 9 clergymen in sex abuse report; probes ongoing

Vancouver Archdioces presides over 443,000 parishoners in B.C.

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

Eagles congregate around Salish Sea for one last feast before period of famine

Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society preparing to receive birds in need of care

Smudging in B.C. classroom did not affect Christian family’s faith, says school district lawyer

Lawyers make closing arguments in a Port Alberni case about the Indigenous cultural practice

Canadian Forces member charged with possessing magic mushrooms in Comox

Master Cpl. Joshua Alexander, with the 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron, facing two drug related charges

Most Read