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Banff continuing on path for age-friendly status

“I read something the other day that said accessibility is temporary, that one day you may not have the function you currently do, and that really sat with me,” said Mayor Corrie DiManno.
Banff Town Hall 1
Banff Town Hall

BANFF – The Town of Banff is a step closer to formal recognition as an age-friendly community.

Banff’s elected officials have directed administration to work with the Age Friendly Banff Committee on development of an action plan before council formally endorses a request to seek an age-friendly community designation from the province of Alberta by the end of the year.

Officials say age-friendly communities promote healthy and active aging, noting the Alberta government requires an age-friendly action plan to identify goals, objectives, targets, activities, timing, funding and other resources that may be needed before a designation is granted.

“I read something the other day that said accessibility is temporary, that one day you may not have the function you currently do, and that really sat with me,” said Mayor Corrie DiManno during council's May 23 meeting.

“I have this top of mind as we need to ensure our community is a great and safe place to age in.”

In May 2022, Banff town council passed a resolution to actively support, promote and work towards becoming an age-friendly community.  

Age-friendly is the idea of making structures and services more accessible and inclusive for seniors with varying needs and capacities. This means municipalities looking at how infrastructure is built, the way residents get around, and accessing places for goods and services.

To achieve this in Banff, the Town of Banff is seeking age-friendly designation from the provincial government, which recognizes a community that has taken concrete steps to make supports and services for seniors more accessible.

Shawn Carr, the manager of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) and social programs for the Town of Banff, said more than 130 residents provided feedback and contributed to an age-friendly assessment process.

He said focus group sessions covered a range of topics in order to identify potential gaps in programs, services and community infrastructure for adults 55 years of age and older.

“Three high level issues presented themselves consistently throughout the eight different age-friendly domain areas discussed,” said Carr.

“They included concern for personal safety, low or lacking awareness of community programs and services, and different stages of aging requiring different levels of support.”

To dig deeper and validate findings coming out of the focus groups, a survey was also conducted, which included 161 respondents.

Carr said the survey results are now being reviewed by the age-friendly committee.

“All of the information garnered from the consultation to date will help the age-friendly committee form an action plan, which is a requirement of the age-friendly designation submission to the province,” he said.

The timeliness for work on development of the action plan will be dependent upon the availability of members of the age-friendly committee and other participants throughout the summer and fall.

However, Carr said it is anticipated that an action plan could be presented to council in October or November of this year.

“I am quite confident we will have a robust action plan," he said.

Several towns and municipalities in Alberta have been recognized by the province for being age-friendly communities such as Lethbridge, Olds, Calgary, Edmonton, Strathcona County and Cold Lake.

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