The age friendly community consultation held at the Lodge on April 21 has handed in its final survey results on the town of Melita. Based on the findings, council members have voted to add a new washroom to Morrow Park.
Members of the community in every age group were involved in the survey, not just seniors. Mothers with young children and persons with disabilities are included in age friendly initiatives such as building wheelchair accessible washrooms, also assisting mothers with strollers. Another example would be rest stops. Age friendly initiatives originated with the World Health Organization in 2007, and quickly became a part of the Healthy Seniors and Aging Branch of the provincial government.
According to the age friendly survey results, sidewalks came in at a whopping 83 per cent regarding maintenance of them and accessible public washrooms at 75 per cent. Council looked at the washroom in Morrow Park as a great first step toward an age friendly Melita.
“The washrooms here (Morrow Park) are 20 plus years old and the floor is wooden and rotted. We got some estimates on whether we could repair them, and it was likely as much if not more than to build new ones.“ said Mayor Bill Holden.
The hot dog fundraiser for the new washrooms was held on July 18 at Morrow Park with Holden, Iris Vercaigne, and council member Eric Forster all pitching in. “We’ve got some money from the Morrow Family, and a little from the age friendly initiative. The Chamber of Commerce has stepped up and they are going to put money in also,” said Holden. “We have a donation jar here with a taxable receipt if anyone wants to donate more than $25 dollars to build the washrooms, and all our proceeds from the BBQ are going towards it as well.”
The sidewalks are also in the mix of the plan. “It’s an ongoing thing with sidewalks and streets, and we budget a little bit for it every year,” said Holden. The paving of Centre Street and Ash Street were scheduled to begin the same afternoon as the hotdog sale on July 18.
Rest stops were also voted in the survey as a requirement to make Melita more age friendly. The public had requested more of them in the survey. “We got some new benches this year, and we’re looking to add another one between the Lodge and Main Street,” explained Holden. “We are also going to add some wheelchairs accessible spots on Main Street and possibly in some different areas in town.”
The survey had 9 sections in total: 1-Housing, 2-Transportation, 3-Outdoor Spaces, 4-Community/Workforce Participation, 5-Social Participation, 6-Information/ Advocacy, 7-Respect/Social Isolation, 8-Health and Community Services, and 9-Safety/Crime.
The results on transportation indicated 76 per cent felt the Handi Van was affordable and a sufficient way to get around, but would like to have an on-line booking system for customers who are out-of-town and need to schedule a pick up. Senior home care and support as well as meal preparation was voted by 75 per cent as sufficient, but a different story as it related to actual health care facilities in Melita meeting the participant’s needs. Here the survey indicated a resounding 91 per cent voicing a concern about heath care including optical and health services meeting the needs of seniors. It was mentioned in 85 per cent of the written comments by participants and listed in the top five priorities they felt needed attention in the community.
One very positive result in the survey was that 90 per cent of the seniors living in Melita felt they are treated with respect in the community. Of those surveyed, 96 per cent also felt safe in the daytime walking in public with 77 per cent feeling crime and vandalism was not a problem.