Saanich works to improve accessibility for seniors

District of Saanich developing a long-term recreation plan to accommodate changing demographics

A Stretch and Strength class is put through its paces at the Cordova Bay 55+ Association Centre.

Local seniors can expect to see changes to local recreation centres as the District of Saanich reviews and refines public feedback as it develops a long-term recreation plan to accommodate changing demographics.

“Although we offer a wide variety of older adult programs we heard that many older adults perceive recreation centres are for the young and only for sporting activities,” said Julie Wallace, recreation programmer with Saanich Parks and Recreation. “We are looking at ways to change that perception, so all ages know what is available and feel welcome in our facilities.”

Wallace, however, also noted that it is very common for young and older adults to use the same spaces and programs.

“For Saanich, inclusiveness is key, not just with specific age groups, but by also fostering inclusion between groups,” she said.

Wallace made those comments as Saanich continues to review the results of a community forum held last November as part of the Saanich Older Adult Strategy designed to guide the direction of programs and services for seniors in the district over over the next five to 10 years.

The district initiated the review in light of changing demographics showing Saanich’s population is aging.

Saanich’s retiree population is expected to grow by 16,496 over the next 24 years, while the pre-retirement population is expected to decline by 3,450, according to a consultant report from MXD Development Strategies published in 2013.

“We expect this demographic to be very influential in the coming years, which is why our work on the Older Adults Strategy is so important,” said Wallace. “The [strategy] will help us be prepared to serve [older adults] in meaningful ways in the coming years.”

Work on the strategy began last year and featured an extensive consultation process that culminated in the community forum held last November that compiled and catalogued feedback from previous engagement sessions.

Within this context, the forum’s final report called for the creation of a guide that rates and ranks the accessibility of trails similar to the guide produced by Recreation Integration Victoria, an inter-municipal service designed to assist people with disabilities living in the Greater Victoria area pursue active lifestyles.

“We are compiling the results of all the public engagement sessions, determining the emerging themes and creating recommendations and a work plan for council’s consideration and endorsement,” Wallace said. “At this time, such a guide was one of hundreds recommendations shared by the public, so its future is unknown at this time as we work through all the data.”

This said, Wallace is always looking at various ways to make parks and trails more accessible.

“Many of the trails within Saanich are very suitable for those with accessibility challenges, while others are more challenging,” she said. “Valuable feedback from the public will be taken into consideration as we look at possible future enhancements.”


A draft plan will go to the public for feedback at the end of March or early April, said Wallace. “We expect the final strategy to go for Saanich council approval in June of this year, and would be happy to report back on our findings at that time.”



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Food safety a good practice amid COVID-19 concerns

BC Centre for Disease Control offers useful food safe information for households

Sidney’s top emergency official says he is not aware of any COVID-19 cases in the community

The public Sunday also heard of future plans to help local businesses through tax deferments

Digitization of Peninsula News Review by Sidney Museum and Archives preserves historical legacy

Searchable database will ease research and preserve integrity of records

COVID-19: Victoria plumbing company dedicates van for grocery delivery

The Super Plumber uses van to pick up groceries for those in need during COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

Most Read