‘Age-friendly’ status step closer

Duane Hicks

The drive to have Fort Frances become an “Age Friendly Community” is able to take another step forward.
Over the past year, a committee of volunteers and stakeholders, under the co-ordination of Ian Simpson, gathered information on what the public feels needs to be done if the town wants to be an “Age Friendly Community” and developed an action plan.
Fort Frances recently was approved for $7,200 in funding from the Ministry of Seniors Affairs to deploy that action plan, with the Rainy River Future Development Corp. and Safe Communities Rainy River District together kicking in $1,800 in in-kind services, as well.
Community Services manager Jason Kabel said this will be the final phase of the committee’s work.
“This is really to enact the first three phases that were done with the previous grant, and try to put into action some of the goals and targets that the community had put together,” Kabel explained at Monday night’s council meeting.
This hopefully will get Fort Frances the designation of being an “Age Friendly Community” in the eyes of the province, he added.
Kabel told the Times the action plan phase will include pulling together stakeholders “to actually make something happen.”
“Let’s get the Town of Fort Frances, BIA, DSSAB, these types of organizations together to agree on something to do and then do it,” he stressed.
“One item is more benches for seating, either along the waterfront or downtown,” Kabel noted.
“First of all, do all of the groups see eye-to-eye on it,” he remarked. “And if they do, and if it makes sense, can we actually put out a couple more benches?”
Kabel noted even with the first three phases complete, the town is in a position to apply to the World Health Organization to be considered a designated “age friendly community.”
And that application is moving forward.
Simpson is slated to make a presentation on the “Age Friendly Community” at council’s next regular council June 26.
At Monday night’s meeting, council passed a bylaw for funding to complete the final phase to become an “Age Friendly Community.”