There are two thing that the Age Friendly Survey has revealed about the Alberni Valley, says Barb Stevenson, who oversaw the project in October and November.
Both youth and seniors are concerned about the same things. And community spirit is alive and well.
Results of the survey were released earlier this month.
The survey graded six areas:
Transportation – C
Outdoor spaces and buildings —B
Social, recreational & cultural participation — A
Housing — B
Paid and volunteer participation — B
Community support & health services — A
“There is a community spirit that comes through,” Stevenson said. In a five-week period there were 811 responses, including 170 from Alberni District Secondary School students.
“Their comments and priorities are very similar to other age groups,” she said.
“Mothers with strollers have the same problems as seniors in scooters or kids on bikes.
“It was surprising to us that there were such similarities across the age groups. We were surprised at how interested the kids are at volunteering.”
The city received a $20,000 grant to conduct the survey and determine how age friendly Port Alberni is, and how people felt officials could make it more so.
“Right from the start we found out that the demographic of our community is split into thirds (0-29 years, 30-54 and 55-plus). Seniors aren’t our majority population.
“There was exactly 10,000 and change each.”
The comments section of the survey was revealing, she added.
“There were wonderfully creative ideas on what we can do.”
The next step, says Stevenson, is an open space gathering this Saturday, Feb. 15 from 1–5 p.m. at Echo Centre. Admission is free and people can participate for the whole afternoon or just a portion.
The point of the gathering is to do some concrete planning.
“It’s taking this (report) and handing it back to the community,” Stevenson said. “Giving them the opportunity to sit with people from the city and regional district, and to sit with each other and talk about their ideas.”
The full report is available on the city’s website at www.portalberni.ca. Click on the link for Age Friendly Report.