Last week, Cold Lake councillors elected to have one of their own sit as part of a senior advocacy committee spearheaded by the city’s Age Friendly organization.
Councillor Vicky Lefebvre will sit on the committee in order to keep council abreast of the issues facing the city’s senior community, while Mayor Craig Copeland will act as her “back up” when unavailable.
Age Friendly, which describes itself as a volunteer-driven organization that works to help support and engage Cold Lake’s elder citizens, also approached council in August to propose that the city start taking steps to be officially recognized globally as an “age friendly community”.
“I’m unabashedly biased in making senior lives better,” said Age Friendly chair Diana Stonehocker in her delegation to council.
“Ageism is unfortunately alive and well in Cold Lake, and while we are looking to improve the lives of our old folks, we’re also looking to help them continue feeling like members of this community.”
In her delegation to council Stonehocker outlined key areas that can potentially alienate seniors from being involved in community affairs, chief amongst them being transportation, which Stonehocker admitted was a problem for any community regardless of wealth.
Cold Lake would attain age-friendly certification by meeting a list of conditions outlined by the World Health Organization which would see a range of infrastructural and organizational changes whose benefits could reach beyond assisting seniors.
City council has been active in efforts to support Cold Lake’s seniors–they awarded a $20,000 to the senior’s society to help with repairs to the society’s parking lot back in August.
“We support anybody forming up any kind of committees,” said Copeland on The Morning After. “We also look at our community right now.”
“We’ve really provided to the senior society in the north, and if you look at the walking track at the Energy Centre it was the seniors that came forward and asked for lower fees, and council decided to make it free for everybody,” he said.
“We also have free transit, there’s a good housing stocking in Cold Lake for people that say want to sell their home and maybe move into a condo or an apartment.
“So we’ll see what else is lacking in there in with the committee, and we can go from there.”
On whether or not Cold Lake will move to becoming certified as age-friendly Copeland said it would depend on the committee’s findings down the road.