News Local

Forum gathers info on making Barrie more age-friendly

By Ian McInroy, Barrie Examiner

Christy Kelly, left, of Independent Living Services of Simcoe County and Area, speaks to participants of the Barrie Age-Friendly Community Plan forum at the Southshore Centre on Monday. The forum, funded by the province and the City of Barrie, was collecting input by service providers and older adults.IAN MCINROY/BARRIE EXAMINER/POSTMEDIA

Christy Kelly, left, of Independent Living Services of Simcoe County and Area, speaks to participants of the Barrie Age-Friendly Community Plan forum at the Southshore Centre on Monday. The forum, funded by the province and the City of Barrie, was collecting input by service providers and older adults.IAN MCINROY/BARRIE EXAMINER/POSTMEDIA

The future of seniors in the city was on the agenda during a special meeting on Monday.

The Barrie Age-Friendly Community Plan was discussed at the Southshore Centre, where more than 100 people gathered to share ideas about how to meet the needs of an aging population.

Participants included seniors or older adults, representatives from city police and Barrie Fire and Emergency Service, Independent Living Services of Simcoe County and Area, the the North Simcoe Muskoka Community Care Access Centre, the Alzheimer’s Society of Simcoe County, the Red Cross and the Canadian Hearing Society.

There were also representatives from staff at local retirement homes and long-term care facilities, home health care service providers and professionals, as well as the insurance, taxation and real-estate industries.

The province's seniors secretariat as well as two city councillors, Bonnie Ainsworth and Rose Romita, also attended.

"The purpose of the forum was to engage the community in the process around the Barrie Age-Friendly Community Plan," said Cheryl Dillon, the city's accessibility co-ordinator.

Funding for the forum came in part from a provincial grant program of the Ontario government, which is providing $1.5 million to 56 communities across Ontario to create plans to create a better future for the province's seniors.

"In 2015, the City of Barrie was fortunate to receive $50,000 of this funding to create an Age-Friendly Barrie Strategic Action Plan to make Barrie a more age-friendly community, and to enhance and develop our community so all seniors can be meaningful participants," Dillon said.

City residents who couldn't attend Monday's forum can still get involved and offer input, she added.

"We will be making our community survey link available on our website for continued access by community members," Dillon said. "Also, we will be continuing the dialogue by circulating a discussion paper to the community for comment this summer, or individuals can provide feedback and comment via email at AgeFriendlyCommunity@barrie.ca."

They can also contact her at Cheryl.Dillon@barrie.ca or by telephone at 705-739-4220 ext. 5237.

Dillon said there is a next stage to the process.

"After this forum, our consultants will be drafting a discussion paper using the data collected from the surveys, focus groups, key informant interviews and the feedback from the community forum," she said. "This discussion paper will then be circulated amongst the community this summer and we will re-engage with the community again in August as we start to develop our action plan."

imcinroy@postmedia.com



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