Grant helps address need for seniors advisory council

New funding is going toward examining the possibility of a senior advisory council.

Sam Corrington, project co-ordinator with the Ladysmith Resource Centre, said the centre has been given funding by New Horizons for Seniors, but all the decisions have been handed over to a planning committee made up of seniors throughout the area.

“There was one (a seniors advisory council) many years ago,” said Corrington.

The seniors office sprang from that council.

“We thought it would be really useful to establish or look at what it would look like if we wanted to have another seniors advisory council.

Corrington noted the Ladysmith area has an active senior population engaged in the community and a council would offer them more voice.

Corrington said planners are also looking at other jurisdictions, most notably Richmond, whose seniors council is now tied to the municipality.

The planning committee is around seven to eight members.

There is a community forum on April 27 at the Eagles Hall to engage local seniors on the idea of a council and what it should entail.

“Then based on what they gather … they’ll put together terms of reference.”

Corrington said there is no firm time line to start the council as they want to take the time to make sure they’ve reached out to the community and done things properly.

Pat Edge, one of the people helping look at the feasibility of a council and a member of the national council herself, said they are looking to give seniors a stronger voice.

“What we’re looking at is if the seniors in Ladysmith and area, which includes First Nations, Saltair and the Diamond … would like to participate and would they like to have their voices heard more,” said Edge.

This includes not only at the municipal level, but also on the provincial and federal level.

Edge stressed this is not a resources centre program. They have been given the funding to organize it and it will be turned over to the seniors.

The issues they want to address, such as handicapped parking downtown, will be up to the independent council, said Edge.

“Whatever they feel are the issues that they gather.

Edge said her generation grew up not speaking out.

“We did what we were told,” said Edge, noting they didn’t question parents, teachers or bosses.

“Things have changed, but perhaps some of our seniors would like to have an opportunity to speak out or help and they don’t know how.

“Maybe this will give them the opportunity,” said Edge.