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Alberni Valley Age-Friendly Plan

On June 24, 2020, the Regional Board endorsed the Alberni Valley Age-Friendly Plan (AF Plan) and Appendices, which focuses on seniors 55+ in the Alberni Valley Electoral Areas. The AF Plan highlights the need to consider planning initiatives that support the ability to age in place and for the ACRD to become a more age-friendly community, through the vision to ensure seniors in the Alberni Valley are included, respected, and supported to age well, and contribute through active participation in their community.

The AF Plan was developed between October 2019 and May 2020, and included a robust community engagement process through a variety of methods. Most notably was an AF survey completed by over 375 ACRD and City residents. The Plan includes many components, including an Age-Friendly Action Plan with 12 priority actions for immediate consideration. Next steps with the AF Plan implementation are outlined below.

Background
The 2016 Census notes that 21.8% of the total population in the ACRD is 65 years or older, which is higher than the provincial average of 18.3%. The largest population group in the ACRD is 45 to 64 years (30%), with the greatest growth expected in the next 20 years for those 75 and older. With this aging population, the ACRD recognizes the need to consider planning initiatives that support the ability to age in place and to be an age-friendly community through accessibility, transportation, housing, health care, food security, lifelong learning, and recreation.

In 2018, the ACRD received a UBCM Age-Friendly Communities grant to develop a local Age-Friendly Plan for the four Alberni Valley Electoral Areas (EAs) (Area 'B' Beaufort, Area 'D' Sproat Lake, Area 'E' Beaver Creek, and Area 'F' Cherry Creek). The AF Plan was developed between October 2019 and May 2020 by a project team of ACRD staff and Dr. Cherie Enns (Cherie Enns Consulting Inc.), and with overall guidance from the Age-Friendly Working Group. The AF Plan includes many components including: background research; a framework to emphasize the importance of building age-friendly communities and promoting active aging; an age-friendly assessment; a summary of community engagement; and an age-friendly action plan, including 12 priority actions for immediate consideration for the ACRD, stakeholders, and community members.

Project Overview
The ACRD is growing, aging, and changing. It is also rural and diverse, which results in unique social and environmental challenges for its communities, which are different from those facing urban populations. The overarching project goal of the AF Plan is to inform ACRD policy, specifically in the Zoning Bylaw and Alberni Valley Official Community Plans (OCPs), further mobilize community action, and for the ACRD to be recognized as an age-friendly community through the Province of BC and BC Healthy Communities. The AF Plan focuses on residents 55 years and older, but considers all ages and abilities, as an age-friendly community benefits all people. An age-friendly community is one that is designed to help older people live safely, enjoy good health and stay involved (Age-Friendly Communities, Government of Canada).

For more information, refer to the following reports, presentations, and news articles:

AV Age-Friendly Working Group
An Age-Friendly Working Group (WG) was established and provided overall project guidance. It was led by project staff and comprised of ACRD residents/community members, and various service providers/government representatives. Sproat Lake Director Penny Cote was appointed as the WG Chair.

Community Engagement
The ACRD heard from over 375 respondents through the age-friendly survey. The results were presented to the public, Working Group members, and other service providers and government agencies at the Age-Friendly Community Workshop on February 6, 2020. Workshop attendees also completed a visioning activity that built on and prioritized strengths, opportunities and needs developed by the Working Group, which were categorized into the eight project themes. This, and many other various engagement methods, were used to develop draft actions and recommendations, which informed the creation of the AF Plan.

Summary & Next Steps
The Age-Friendly Plan:
  • Will allow the ACRD to respond to the needs of a growing segment of the population and promote the best possible quality of life in the rural areas of the Alberni Valley. As residents age, their needs evolve and the ACRD can use this Plan to provide the groundwork for actions in the short, medium, and long-term in order to help facilitate our resident's ability to age in place and continue to live in the community.
  • Includes actions to guide the development of local age-friendly policies and initiatives, which will enable the ACRD to apply for future funding opportunities.

The recommendations of the AF Plan are action-oriented, achievable, and many can be implemented through updating current planning documents. The action plan includes 12 priority actions that are for immediate consideration by the ACRD and other partnering agencies.

On June 24, 2020, the Regional Board supported the following recommendations:

  • THAT the Board of Directors endorse the Alberni Valley Age-Friendly Plan and Appendices as presented, highlighting the vision statement to ensure seniors in the Alberni Valley are included, respected, and supported to age well, and contribute through active participation in their community.
  • THAT the ACRD actively participates, supports, promotes and works toward becoming an age-friendly community through the implementation of the Alberni Valley Age-Friendly Plan, and that Plan implementation be referred to the Board's strategic planning process.
  • THAT the Board of Directors direct staff to explore options to establish a new Age-Friendly Stakeholder Advisory Committee, or partner with an existing established committee.
  • THAT the Board of Directors direct staff to apply for Age-Friendly BC Community recognition from the Province of BC and BC Healthy Communities.

Please continue to check back on this webpage as the ACRD works collaboratively with community residents and partners to implement the Alberni Valley Age-Friendly Plan.

Contact Us
For additional information or if you have any questions, please contact us:

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District
Planning and Development - Age-Friendly Plan
250-720-2700
agefriendly@acrd.bc.ca