Tuesday, May 28, 2013

BCHC Newsletter - May 2013


New Report Release: “Strengthening Neighbourhood Resilience: Opportunities for Communities and Local Governments”

Through our partnership with Fraser Basin Council’s Smart Planning for Communities program, The Building Resilient Neighbourhoods Project has just released a final report covering some of the research and lessons learned from the first phase of the project. Click here to read the full report and learn more about strengthening neighbourhood resilience.

New Partnership with the District of Mission through the "Active Seniors Project"

The Mission Seniors Centre Association in partnership with the District of Mission Parks, Recreation & Culture Department has secured funding through the UBCM Age-friendly Community Planning and Project Grants Program to develop a framework for volunteer management and recreation programming for seniors through the Mission Seniors Centre Association. 

As part of this project the District of Missions selected BC Healthy Communities as the successful candidate to take the lead on the “Active Seniors Project”. The main purpose of this project is to develop volunteer and senior friendly policies, procedures and tools to support senior recreation programming and volunteer administration. To learn more about this project please contact bchc@bchealthycommunities.ca


Tenant Engagement: Community Mapping for BC Housing in Victoria

Source: BC Housing Information Update
BCHC has worked with BC Housing in the past on the Livegreen Tenant Engagement on Sustainability focusing on Energy Conservation. BCHC facilitated the pilot project for the initiative and conducted workshops for the new facilitators that are engaging social housing tenants based on the model developed during the pilot.

Most recently BCHC facilitated three mapping sessions in Victoria. Tenants now have access to community maps that point them in the direction of a number of nearby resources including affordable food, health clinics and pharmacies, recreational services, transit options, and nature places. Large maps have been installed in the lobbies Hampton House and Battin Fielding, and Middle House at Evergreen Terrace. Through this community engagement process tenants were able to work together with their neighbours, talk about their community strengths and address concerns around issues such as safety.  All current and future tenants are provided with a brochure-size map specific to their site.

BCHC offers in-depth knowledge of strategies for community development and energy conservation at social housing sites. To learn more please contact bchc@bchealthycommunities.ca.

Source: BC Housing Information Update May 8, 2013, Vol.17; No.5; Ed.9

We’d love to feature your community in this section. Please contact us and tell us all about the activities that are happening in your community to help make it a safe and inclusive place.


Hazel Currie – Community Builder

Hazel Currie is a shining example of how individuals, working together, often doing small things, can have a big impact on a community. She has lived in Victoria’s Gonzales neighbourhood for the past 10 years. In that time she has helped make subtle changes that have benefited the entire community including organizing events such as a block party complete with a tug-of-war and BBQ, and outdoor “neighbourhood playdates”, sometimes attracting up to 18 children to play street hockey, cycle or run around together. Hazel even organizes “group skipping” at the local elementary school, bringing kids and parents together and introducing them to some good old-fashioned fun and exercise.

As well as building the social fabric of the community, Hazel has helped make some physical changes: Pemberton Park now has a fence to help prevent little ones from darting out onto the busy road. The new Chandler-Gonzales pathway is well utilized by parents, students, dog-walkers, runners and cyclists.

Hazel has a background in communications and organizational work. She has also honed a reputation of being a friendly, approachable individual, who is not afraid to champion a good idea for the community. Currently, she is a full-time mom to two active young boys, and is able to volunteer with the Parent Advisory Council, work with the Committee to Re-open the Chandler-Gonzales Pathway, and bring individuals together to spark new friendships and a sense of community. Hazel shows that community-enhancing changes can happen by making an effort to connect with neighbours and being dogged in subtly championing a cause.


Building Age-Friendly Communities in BC
By Krissi Spinoza

In 2011, seniors accounted for 15% of the population of BC; that figure is set to double by 2036 [1]. 7 of the 10 municipalities [2] with the highest proportion of seniors in British Columbia, therefore it is no surprise that BC local governments are working hard to make their communities age-friendly. An age-friendly community is one in which policies, services and infrastructure are designed to help seniors "age actively." In other words, the community is set up to help seniors live safely, enjoy good health and stay involved. For example, in an age-friendly community:
  • sidewalks are well lit and kept in good shape;
  • community gardens have accessible pathways and raised beds;
  • seniors take part in community activities, such as visiting museums or libraries, taking courses or volunteering for charities or civic duties.

The Age-Friendly BC Recognition is an annual award presented to communities who have completed four steps in working towards an age-friendly community: passing a local government resolution, establishing an advisory committee, conducting an age-friendly assessment and develop and publishing an action plan – all with the leadership and involvement of local seniors. This year the award has been presented to eight communities; all of who received an age-friendly poster and $1,000 grant to complete a legacy project.

One of the communities recognized by the award is Creston. In 2011, 33% of the Town of Creston’s population was 65 years and older and the Town Council has a strong desire to ensure that older adults are active participants in all aspects of community life and municipal planning initiatives. To ensure that planning for the future of the community reflected the needs of seniors, the local government provided a range of age-friendly engagement opportunities, including workshops, roundtable discussions and focus groups as part of their Integrated Community Sustainability Planning process, which was being undertaken concurrently with the Age-Friendly Action Plan.

Seniors have been involved in making decisions about the location of additional benches for the community, and are currently participating in discussions regarding providing downtown public washrooms. Furthermore, Creston is working with specialized service providers to examine age-friendly transportation, and with the health authority to address the health needs of seniors. Many of these activities will benefit the whole community, as well as seniors in helping to fulfill Creston’s commitment to creating a community “where people of all ages, incomes and abilities feel connected, valued and safe”[3]. Streets that offer spaces for people to rest,  interact and celebrate with others benefit everyone in the community.

Creston is just one of the many communities working to ensure that the community is accessible to all. As Jodi Mucha, Executive Director of BC Healthy Communities, describes, “We are impressed with the level of enthusiasm and commitment that local governments around the province are showing toward age friendly communities. Planning for age friendly communities is a win-win for everyone – it helps the community be great for everyone.”

 Statistics Canada, Census of Population, 2011.
[2] Statistics Canada, Census of Population, 2011.
[3] Cultivating Creston: Integrated Community Sustainability Plan p.17.

Integrated Community Sustainability Plan - Creston - February 28, 2013


Conference ~ Building SustainAble Communities
Where: Kelowna
When: November 25-28, 2013
What: This year's event features a half-day workshop hosted by BC Healthy Communities entitled Building Healthy Communities Through Multi-Stakeholder Engagement & Partnerships. For info visit the conference website here


Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth

Active Healthy Kids Canada recently presented the 2013 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. This year's Report Card focuses on the decline in active transportation and the implications of this issue on overall physical activity levels of children and youth.  
Read the full Report Card, including the assigned grades on 17 different indicators of how we measure up as nation with respect to childhood physical activity and see why this year we received a D- for physical activity levels.

Active Healthy Kids Canada strives to arm influential individuals and organizations with the most up-to-date evidence and information in order to support and advocate for physical activity for Canadian children and youth. 

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