Improving Northern Heath service levels is a main priority for the senior’s needs task force in 2012, coordinator Dave Price explained during his year-end update to council.
The group is collaborating with industry on demanding better health services in Tumbler Ridge, and also wants to see adequate staffing available for BC Ambulance.
While a Northern Health master planning process is now underway for Tumbler Ridge, CAO Barry Elliot said he’s still awaiting word back from an assistant deputy health minister to determine what role the district will have in the study.
The mayors task force on seniors needs was established in November 2007 as a five member, mayor-appointed task force, Price explained. Other focuses for this year will be on decreasing through-traffic in residential areas, home visitability standards and home entryway modifications, and better inter-community transportation for seniors.
Price described positive changes for local seniors in 2011, such as the completion and dedication of the 12-unit Hartford Court seniors housing complex, improved weekend hours at the health clinic, a new dentists in Tumbler Ridge, the Meals on Wheels program, town hall’s new heated wheelchair ramp and improved curb cuts on local sidewalks.
Reducing the amount of mining crew buses running through residential areas will be a focus for the group this year, said Price.
â€œThere’s not a child in this town that qualifies for bus service to go to schoolâ€ he said, adding mine workers should not expect door-to-door bus service.
The group also wants to see visitability standards â€“ home features such as level entry, a washroom on the main floor, and a zero-step entrance â€“ worked into new home construction bylaws. Building those features in usually costs an extra $1,000 per home for new construction, he said.
Entryway modifications that would allow for bigger front porches would also help reduce incidents where seniors slip and fall on icy section in front of their homes, said Price.
Council thanked Price for the comprehensive report, and Wren singled out the committee for special praise.
â€œThis is the most dedicated task force I’ve worked with anywhere,â€ he said. â€œThe money that’s been spent on this committee is the best money that’s been spent on any consulting in the last three years.â€