Seniors in Rossland may soon see better programs and activities coming out of the city’s recreation department.
That’s because the city has received $15,000 to hire an age-friendly coordinator.
“We’re really excited about that,” says Mayor Kathy Moore. “This is a project I’ve been hoping to see come to fruition for quite a while.”
The money for the position is coming from the Union of BC Municipalities’ 2019 Stream 2 Age-Friendly Communities Program. This grant, along with a contribution from the City of Rossland, will be used to hire the community coordinator.
“The first thing we need to do is really engage with our seniors, to see what they want,” says Moore. She says the city will likely use a similar coordinator position in Beaver Valley as a guide to what can be done in Rossland.
“That person’s been doing a great job getting seniors together, finding out what they want to do, organizing trips and activities for them, things like that,” says Moore. “So I’m hoping we can kind of replicate that program.”
The coordinator can help bridge the communication gap between the seniors community and programs/supports that exist in the region. The person will also be an advocate for seniors’ needs when planning for larger issues like housing and transportation.
To begin with, the coordinator will focus on Rossland. Eventually, the city could partner with Trail and Warfield to share the position.
“If we can do things together, that would be ideal,” says Moore. “Ultimately I’d like to see the Columbia Basin Trust take on seniors projects the way they have so successfully with their Youth Action Network. That’s what I’d really love to see — that kind of program replicated to focus on seniors.”
In 2017 and 2018, the City of Rossland alongside the City of Trail and Village of Montrose used funding from Stream 1 of this program to create age-friendly assessments and plans for each community. A consultant was hired to facilitate, and the planning process took the needs of the entire region into consideration. A task force was created, which included representatives from various sectors, community members, elected officials and municipal staff. Together, the group examined regional issues surrounding the creation of age-friendly communities, as well as community-specific issues for each participating location.
The City of Rossland is in the process of recruiting and hiring for the coordinator position, which will begin in March.