Making Harrison Hot Springs Age-friendly

Cherie Enns presents draft plan to Council for consideration

An age-friendly Harrison has better access to services, wider sidewalks, intergenerational activities, mentorship programs, senior’s fairs and even a village history book. These are among the suggestions found in the draft Age-Friendly Action Plan for the Village of Harrison Hot Springs.

The suggestions came out of a consultation process in 2014 that included meetings with key stakeholders, drop-in discussion times for the public, workshops and a “Walk a Mile in my orthopedic shoes” event. There are more than 30 key action areas identified within four broad categories: transportation and built environment, social and civic participation, employment and volunteerism, and housing and health

“The key action areas were the most mentioned areas of concern that came out of the consultation process,” explains project manager Cherie Enns.

With more than one-third of Harrison residents 65 years and older, the senior population is not one to disregard in Harrison. The draft report states, “It is integral to maintain and improve the quality of life for these residents by having a long-term plan in place that ensures residents ample services, public space, activities, amenities, and other community aspects that allow them to age in place, in the best way possible.”

Harrison Hot Springs was one of 26 communities to receive an age friendly grant from the province in 2014 with the goal of helping senior citizens stay mobile, physically active and healthy. The Village Council hired Cheri Enns Consulting to create an Age-Friendly Plan. Enns presented the draft plan to Council January 19.

Enns says one of the findings from the consultation process that struck her was the importance of intergenerational connections to locals and how they wanted improvements to work for all generations.

“It’s important, especially in a small community, that improvements work for everybody,” says Enns. “[If] you make the waterfront more accessible for seniors, it also works for moms with strollers, it works for someone who just had surgery. It just works for everybody.”

The Age-Friendly Action Plan will be presented at an open house in February for public feedback. Mayor Leo Facio is pleased with the report and says following the open house, Council will sit down to discuss it at length and decide on the next steps.

“It’s been very well done,” Facio comments.

The open house is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 25 at the Memorial Hall, from 3-6 p.m. Please RSVP to cherieennsconsulting@gmail.com or call 604-649-1255.