Parksville urged to reduce obstacles on sidewalks

Though there is still work to be done, “Parksville is well ahead of the curve,” in creating pedestrian friendly community for seniors according to Dr. Lynn MacFadgen.

Though there is still work to be done, “Parksville is well ahead of the curve,” in creating pedestrian friendly community for seniors according to Dr. Lynn MacFadgen.

She presented a report to city council on the results of a public forum in Qualicum Beach in November called the Cafe Scientifique on “taking back your sidewalks.” 

Sponsored by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) the day brought around 40 seniors, service providers, policy makers, educators and researchers together to explore pedestrian issues in the region to offer tips and ideas and future understand the current situation.

MacFadgen is based at Vancouver Island University and works with the Healthy Aging Coalition. She explained to council that Parksville and Qualicum Beach are already very age friendly cities but that they need to be vigilant to keep pushing in the right direction and there are still improvements that can be made.

The resulting report makes suggestions such as continuing the conversation on the topic, taking advantage of the expertise already in the communities, establishing an advisory group and involving seniors in the planning process.

They also had some more concrete suggestions like lengthening crosswalk times, establishing more scooter parking and reducing obstacles in congested areas like sandwich boards, benches and trees.

Councillor Carrie Powell-Davidson suggested the area also needs more scooter rodeos to help seniors learn how to navigate traffic safely.

“When you make a community better for seniors you make it better for everyone,” MacFadgen said.

She praised the work of Gerry Price and the city’s Measuring Up Committee, which coun. Marc Lefebvre pointed out is actively working on physical sidewalk issues like bumps and curbs.